Immunoprophylactic approach against chemical carcinogenesis. (Doctoral thesis)
- Clinical and Applied Virology
The main objective of the present thesis was to investigate whether antibody effects observed in earlier in vitro studies can translate into the protection against chemical carcinogenesis in vivo as the basis of an immunoprophylactic approach against carcinogens.
As model for chemical carcinogenesis, we selected B[a]P the prototype polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), an environmental pollutant emanating from both natural and anthropogenic sources. Many in vivo models conveniently use high doses of carcinogens mostly given as single bolus, which provides simple surrogate readouts, but poorly reflects chronic exposure to the low concentrations found in the environment. In addition, these concentrations cannot be matched with equimolar antibody concentrations obtained by immunisation. However, low B[a]P concentrations do not permit to directly measure chemical carcinogenesis. Therefore, in the present thesis, the pharmacokinetic, metabolism and B[a]P mediated immunotoxicity were chosen as experimental read-outs.
B[a]P conjugate vaccines based on ovalbumin, tetanus toxoid and diphtheria toxoid (DT) as carrier proteins were developed to actively immunise mice against B[a]P. B[a]P-DT conjugate induced the most robust immune response. The antibodies reacted not only with B[a]P but also with the proximate carcinogen 7,8-diol-B[a]P.
Antibodies modulated the bioavailability of B[a]P and its metabolic activation in a dose-dependent manner by sequestration in the blood.
In order to further improve the vaccination, we replaced the protein carrier by promiscuous T-helper cell epitopes to induce higher antibody titer with increased specificity for the B[a]P hapten. We hypothesised that a reduction of B cell binding sites on the carrier, compared to whole protein carrier, should favour the activation of B cells recognising the hapten instead of the carrier protein. An internal processing of the carrier and cleavage of the B[a]P-BA and subsequent presentation of the carrier peptide by MHC II molecules to T cell receptor should induce a B cell dependent immune response by activating B cells capable to recognise B[a]P. We demonstrated that a vaccination against B[a]P using promiscuous T-helper cell epitopes as a carrier is feasible and some tested peptide conjugates were more immunogenic as whole protein conjugates with increased specificity.