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A phosphorothioate oligodeoxynucleotide that is complementary (antisense) to the initiation region of the rev gene of HIV-1 causes hypergammaglobulinemia and splenomegaly in mice, and it induces B cell proliferation and differentiation in mouse spleen mononuclear cells (SMNCs) and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro. The current studies were performed to investigate the specificity of these immunomodulatory effects. Both the sense and antisense rev oligomers stimulated tritiated thymidine incorporation and secretion of immunoglobulin M (IgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG) by mouse SMNCs in a concentration-dependent fashion, but the antisense oligomer produced greater immune effects. Studies comparing phosphorothioate oligomers (anti-rev, c-myc, and c-myb) either methylated or unmethylated at CpG dinucleotides showed that methylation effectively abrogated the proliferative effect and tended to reduce the immunoglobulin secretory activity, but the latter was not statistically significant except in the case of IgG in anti-rev oligomer-treated cultures. Mice were injected with the sense or antisense rev oligomers singly or in combination. The animals then were immunized with tetanus toxoid and received a booster 21 days later. Oligodeoxynucleotide-treated mice had significantly higher levels of IgM antibodies on days 28 and 35 and of IgG antibodies on days 14 and 35 as compared with mice that were immunized but received vehicle alone. There was no evidence for additive, synergistic, or antagonistic interactions of the sense and antisense rev oligomers. These results indicate that the unmethylated anti-rev oligomer is the most potent of the phosphorothioate oligomers tested at activating lymphocyte proliferation and differentiation and that a single intravenous injection of this oligodeoxynucleotide augments antibody production to a specific antigen as long as 35 days later.

Original publication




Journal article


J Lab Clin Med

Publication Date





329 - 338


Animals, Antibody Formation, Antibody Specificity, B-Lymphocytes, Base Sequence, Cell Division, Cells, Cultured, Epitopes, Genes, rev, Humans, Immunoglobulin G, Immunoglobulin M, Leukocytes, Mononuclear, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Molecular Sequence Data, Oligonucleotides, Antisense, Spleen, Thionucleotides