Experimental murine cysticercosis caused by Taenia crassiceps has proved to be a useful model with which to test the efficacy of new vaccine candidates and delivery systems against pig cysticercosis. A high level of protection against murine cysticercosis was previously observed by intramuscular or intradermal DNA immunization with the use of the sequence of the recombinant KETc7 antigen cloned in pcDNA3 (pTc-sp7). To determine the effect of KETc7 differential expression in DNA vaccination, KETc7 was cloned in pGEM 11Zf(+) under the control of the tissue-specific regulatory promoter phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (pPc-sp7). A high level of protection was induced by intrahepatic immunization with pPc-sp7, pTc-sp7 and the empty vector in the absence of any specific immunity. The empty vector pGEM 11Zf(+), the plasmid with the highest content of CpG sequences, provided to the most efficient protection. This protection was related to an increased number of splenocytes, enhanced nonspecific splenocyte proliferation, and intensified intrahepatic INF-γ production. Overall, intrahepatic plasmid CpG-DNA immunization provokes an exacerbated nonspecific immune response that can effectively control Taenia crassiceps cysticercosis.

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