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Open Access Research article

Vaccination with hemagglutinin or neuraminidase DNA protects BALB/c mice against influenza virus infection in presence of maternal antibody

Jianjun Chen12, Fenghua Zhang1, Fang Fang1, Haiyan Chang1 and Ze Chen123*

Author Affiliations

1 College of Life Science, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410081, Hunan, China

2 State Key Laboratory of Virology, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Science, Wuhan 430071, Hubei, China

3 Shanghai Institute of Biological Products, Shanghai 200052, China

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2007, 7:118  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-7-118

Published: 16 October 2007



Maternal antibody is the major form of protection against disease in early life; however, its presence interferes with active immunization of offspring. In order to overcome the immunosuppression caused by maternal antibody, several immune strategies were explored in this paper using mouse model and influenza vaccines.


The results showed that: i) when the offspring were immunized with the same vaccine as their mothers, whether inactivated or DNA vaccine, the presence of maternal antibody inhibited offspring immune response and the offspring could not be protected from a lethal influenza virus infection; ii) when the offspring, born to mothers immunized with inactivated vaccine, were immunized with NA DNA vaccine, the interference of maternal antibody were overcome and the offspring could survive a lethal virus challenge; iii) when the offspring were immunized with different DNA vaccine from that for their mothers, the interference of maternal antibody were also overcome. In addition, high-dose inactivated vaccine in maternal immunization caused partial inhibition in offspring when the offspring were immunized with HA DNA vaccine, while lower dose caused no significant immunosuppression.


To avoid the interference of maternal antibody in influenza vaccination of offspring, mothers and their offspring shall not be immunized with the same vaccine. If mothers are immunized with inactivated vaccine, NA DNA vaccine for the offspring shall be effective; and if mothers are immunized with HA (NA) DNA, NA (HA) DNA for the offspring shall be effective.