Mitogenic synthetic polynucleotides suppress the antibody response to a bacterial polysaccharide. Academic Article uri icon


  • Unmethylated bacterial DNA containing a high frequency of the CpG motif, is mitogenic and induces T-cell independent, murine B-cell proliferation. These stimulatory effects are also induced by synthetic oligonucleotides that contain one or more unmethylated CpG dinucleotides (CpG oligo). Such mitogenicity is not seen with highly methylated vertebrate DNA, which has a lower prevalence of the CpG motif than bacterial DNA. Due to their stimulatory effects, CpG oligo have been proposed for use as vaccine adjuvants. In order to determine if a synthetic CpG oligo that was stimulatory for B-cell proliferation could augment the murine antibody response to protective bacterial polysaccharide epitopes (Pseudomonas aeruginosa LPS-O polysaccharide side chain; high-molecular-weight polysaccharide or high-MW PS), BALB/c mice were injected with mitogenic doses of CpG oligo simultaneously with high-MW PS, and antibody titers were measured by ELISA weekly for 4 weeks. Controls received PBS, a nonstimulatory control oligo plus PS, CpG alone, or PS alone. Despite evidence of B-cell mitogenicity and an increase in total IgM in CpG oligo-treated mice, CpG oligo treatment plus PS significantly decreased the high-MW PS antibody response compared to PS alone. The blunting of the anti-PS antibody response could be eliminated by vaccinating the animals with PS prior to CpG oligo. We conclude that despite in vitro and in vivo evidence of B-cell proliferation, this CpG oligo reduces PS-specific antibody responses in an animal model when given simultaneously with a bacterial polysaccharide. Based on results in this model, oligonucleotides containing stimulatory unmethylated CpG dinucleotides may not be useful adjuvants when given simultaneously with bacterial PS vaccines.

published proceedings

  • Vaccine

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Threadgill, D. S., McCormick, L. L., McCool, T. L., Greenspan, N. S., & Schreiber, J. R.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Threadgill, DS||McCormick, LL||McCool, TL||Greenspan, NS||Schreiber, JR

publication date

  • January 1998