Neonatal administration of IL-12 enhances the protective efficacy of antiviral vaccines

Bernard P. Arulanandam, James N. Mittler, William T. Lee, Margot O'Toole, Dennis W. Metzger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Neonates are highly susceptible to infectious agents and are known to display polarized expression of Th2-like cytokines and Abs. This neonatal immune bias has important implications for the development of vaccine strategies, particularly against viral infections. We now report that coadministration of IL-12 and an influenza subunit vaccine at birth enhances the protective efficacy of antiviral vaccination. Immunization and treatment with lL-12 within 24 h of birth resulted in elevated expression of IFN-γ, IL-10, and IL-15 mRNA in the spleens of newborn mice compared with animals exposed to vaccine only. In addition, these animals showed dramatic increases in IFN-γ-, IL-2-, and IL-4-secreting cells, and in IgG2a Ab levels upon adult challenge compared with mice primed with vaccine alone. Most importantly, animals vaccinated and simultaneously treated with IL-12 at birth displayed enhanced survival after lethal challenge with infectious influenza virus as adults compared with infected animals that had been primed with vaccine alone. This augmented protection required B cells and could be transferred to naive mice by immune serum. Collectively, these results provide evidence that administration of IL-12 to neonates induces a Th1-like response in newborns and elicits protective antiviral immune memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3698-3704
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


Dive into the research topics of 'Neonatal administration of IL-12 enhances the protective efficacy of antiviral vaccines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this