Interleukin-21 enhances the antibody avidity elicited by DNA prime and MVA boost vaccine

Wenjin Fan, Yanmin Wan, Qingsheng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enhancement of the magnitude or affinity of protective antibodies (Abs) induced by vaccine adjuvant is highly desirable to prevent challenging pathogens such as HIV-1. IL-21 plays a crucial role in germinal center reactions during humoral immune responses. However, the effect of IL-21 as a vaccine adjuvant on the quantity and quality of antigen-specific Abs elicited by DNA prime and MVA boost vaccine, a commonly used vaccine strategy, remains unknown. To close this knowledge gap, female adult B6N mice were primed with DNA vaccine twice (days 0, 14, 100 µg, I.M.) and boosted with MVA vaccine (day 28, 2 × 107 pfu, I.M.) with or without an IL-21 DNA adjuvant (days 3, 17, 31, 40 µg, I.M.), in which HIV-1 gag was expressed as a model antigen. With the addition of an IL-21 adjuvant, we found significantly increased avidity of antigen-specific Abs at multiple time points in a longitudinal follow up. Collectively, our results suggest that an IL-21 immune adjuvant can significantly increase Ab quality induced by heterologous DNA-MVA prime-boost vaccine strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number154814
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Antibody avidity
  • DNA vaccine
  • IL-21
  • MVA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry
  • Hematology
  • Molecular Biology

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