Immunogenicity of Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae Outer Membrane Vesicles and Protective Ability in the Chinchilla Model of Otitis Media.
Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) produced by Gram-negative bacteria are enriched in several outer membrane components, including major and minor outer membrane proteins and lipooligosaccharide. We assessed the functional activity of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) OMV-specific antisera and the protective ability of NTHi OMVs as vaccine antigens in the chinchilla otitis media model. OMVs were purified from three HMW1/HMW2-expressing NTHi strains, two of which were also engineered to overexpress Hia proteins. OMV-specific antisera raised in guinea pigs were assessed for their ability to mediate killing of representative NTHi in an opsonophagocytic assay. The three OMV-specific antisera mediated killing of 18 of 65, 24 of 65, and 30 of 65 unrelated HMW1/HMW2-expressing NTHi strains. Overall, they mediated killing of 39 of 65 HMW1/HMW2-expressing strains. The two Hia-expressing OMV-specific antisera mediated killing of 17 of 25 and 14 of 25 unrelated Hia-expressing NTHi strains. Overall, they mediated killing of 20 of 25 Hia-expressing strains. OMVs from prototype NTHi strain 12 were used to immunize chinchillas and the course of middle ear infection was monitored following intrabullar challenge with the homologous strain. All control animals developed culture-positive otitis media, as did two of three HMW1/HMW2-immunized animals. All OMV-immunized animals, with or without supplemental HMW1/HMW2 immunization, were completely protected against otitis media. NTHi OMVs are the first immunogens examined in this model that provided complete protection with sterile immunity after NTHi strain 12 challenge. These data suggest that NTHi OMVs hold significant potential as components of protective NTHi vaccines, possibly in combination with HMW1/HMW2 proteins.
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