Sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) enter the body through the mucosal epithelial cells and the ability to direct pathogen-clearing T-cells to points of infection may be the critical element in developing successful vaccines against these infections.
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers led by John Schiller at the National Cancer Institute investigated the immune response to intravaginal immunization in mice infected with a form of the HPV virus carrying a model antigen.
They found that intravaginal immunization significantly increased the number of immune cells present in the vaginal mucosa compared with a general immune system booster.
These results indicate that site-specific vaccination enhances the local immune system response and may be useful in developing STD vaccines.
Explore further: Virus used to create experimental HIV vaccines directly impairs the immune response
Intravaginal immunization with HPV vectors induces tissue-resident CD8+ T cells, Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2012.