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Gut ; 2019 Mar 29.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30926653


OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to develop a novel therapeutic vaccine based on a unique B cell epitope and investigate its therapeutic potential against chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in animal models. METHODS: A series of peptides and carrier proteins were evaluated in HBV-tolerant mice to obtain an optimised therapeutic molecule. The immunogenicity, therapeutic efficacy and mechanism of the candidate were investigated systematically. RESULTS: Among the HBsAg-aa119-125-containing peptides evaluated in this study, HBsAg-aa113-135 (SEQ13) exhibited the most striking therapeutic effects. A novel immunoenhanced virus-like particle carrier (CR-T3) derived from the roundleaf bat HBV core antigen (RBHBcAg) was created and used to display SEQ13, forming candidate molecule CR-T3-SEQ13. Multiple copies of SEQ13 displayed on the surface of this particulate antigen promote the induction of a potent anti-HBs antibody response in mice, rabbits and cynomolgus monkeys. Sera and purified polyclonal IgG from the immunised animals neutralised HBV infection in vitro and mediated efficient HBV/hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) clearance in the mice. CR-T3-SEQ13-based vaccination induced long-term suppression of HBsAg and HBV DNA in HBV transgenic mice and eradicated the virus completely in hydrodynamic-based HBV carrier mice. The suppressive effects on HBsAg were strongly correlated with the anti-HBs level after vaccination, suggesting that the main mechanism of CR-T3-SEQ13 vaccination therapy was the induction of a SEQ13-specific antibody response that mediated HBV/HBsAg clearance. CONCLUSIONS: The novel particulate protein CR-T3-SEQ13 suppressed HBsAg effectively through induction of a humoural immune response in HBV-tolerant mice. This B cell epitope-based therapeutic vaccine may provide a novel immunotherapeutic agent against chronic HBV infection in humans.