Mucosal tissues are major sites of HIV entry and initial infection. Induction of a local mucosal cytotoxic T lymphocyte response is considered an important goal in developing an effective HIV vaccine. In addition, activation and recruitment of memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells
in systemic lymphoid circulation to mucosal effector sites might provide the firewall needed to prevent virus spread. Therefore a vaccine that generates CD4+ and CD8+ responses in both mucosal and systemic tissues might be required for protection against HIV. However, optimal routes
and number of vaccinations required for the generation of long lasting CD4+ and CD8+ CTL effector and memory responses are not well understood especially for mucosal T cells. A number of studies looking at protective immune responses against diverse mucosal pathogens have shown that
mucosal vaccination is necessary to induce a compartmentalized immune response including maximum levels of mucosal high-avidity CD8+ CTL, antigen specific mucosal antibodies titers (especially sIgA), as well as induction of innate anti-viral factors in mucosa tissue. Immune responses
are detectable at mucosal sites after systemic delivery of vaccine, and prime boost regimens can amplify the magnitude of immune responses in mucosal sites and in systemic lymphoid tissues. We believe that the most optimal mucosal and systemic HIV/SIV specific protective immune responses and
innate factors might best be achieved by simultaneous mucosal and systemic prime and boost vaccinations. Similar principals of vaccination may be applied for vaccine development against cancer and highly invasive pathogens that lead to chronic infection.
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