To yield sufficient cells to perform the assays, PBMCs
from both animals in each group were pooled. All assays were performed in triplicate, with average values and SDs calculated. As a positive control, cells were cultured with concanavalin A (Sigma), which was present at a final concentration of 2.5 μg mL−1. Medium alone was used as a negative control. Plates were incubated in a humid 5% CO2 environment at 37 °C for 96 h, and then pulsed for 18 h with 18.25 KBq (1 μCi) [3H] thymidine (Amersham Biosciences, UK) per well. The cells were harvested using a Packard Filtermate Harvester onto glass fibre filters (Packard, the Netherlands), and activity was counted in a MicroBeta TriLUX direct beta counter (Perkin Elmer). Results were expressed as average counts per minute (±SD). All data were expressed as means±SEM SEs. Statistical significance (P-values) was determined using Student’s t-test. Results were considered significant with P<0.05 and highly BGB324 significant with P<0.01. Figure 1 shows a comparison of HBsAg-specific antibody responses Cytoskeletal Signaling inhibitor between the groups of rabbits vaccinated with the phage vaccine, λHBs and the commercial protein vaccine, Engerix B. Rabbits in the phage vaccine group showed significantly higher (P<0.01) responses at days 33,
47, 68 and 82, when compared with the protein-vaccinated group. Additionally, three of the phage-vaccinated rabbits showed a response with an OD >1 after one vaccination and all did
after two vaccinations (Fig. 1c). Only one rabbit in the protein-vaccinated group showed a response >1 OD unit after two vaccinations and it took three vaccinations until four of the five rabbits showed this level of response (Fig. 1b). LSAs were performed on two randomly selected animals from each of the bacteriophage and commercial vaccine groups. PBMCs were extracted as described, pooled for the two animals from each group and stimulated with either recombinant HBsAg or whole phage particles. The results of these LSAs are shown in Fig. 2. The results are plotted as raw counts. The stimulation indices (SIs) were calculated by taking the raw count at a specific time and dividing it by the value from the control (i.e. no antigen) value. Lymphocytes from rabbits vaccinated with either the phage DOCK10 or the commercial vaccines that were then stimulated with recombinant HBsAg antigen both showed an increase in counts, with maximal SIs of 3.45 (phage vaccinated) and 3.20 (protein vaccinated) (Fig. 1b). SIs in cells to which phage were added as a stimulating antigen (Fig. 2b) were significantly higher, reaching 34 in the phage-vaccinated group and 25 in the HBsAg recombinant protein-vaccinated group. The relatively high stimulation index observed in the cells extracted from animals vaccinated with recombinant protein, when stimulated with phage antigen, is due to the nonspecific immunostimulatory properties of the phage preparation.