- To evaluate the ability of mucosal immunization protocols using peptide immunogens to induce CTL responses, BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice were immunized intranasally (i.n.) with peptides corresponding to a known CTL epitope in HIV-1 glycoprotein 120 or OVA, respectively, and the mucosal adjuvant cholera toxin (CT). Intranasal immunization of BALB/c mice with a 10- or 15-amino acid peptide corresponding to a CTL determinant in HIV-1 glycoprotein 120 and CT induced peptide-specific CTLs in spleen cells that persisted through 35 days after the last immunization. Intranasal immunization of C57BL/6 mice with the octameric OVA peptide and CT produced similar results with detectable peptide-specific CTL in both the cervical lymph node and spleen. To test whether CTL induced by i.n. immunization with OVA peptide and CT were functional in vivo, groups of C57BL/6 mice were injected with E.G7-OVA tumor cells that express the OVA protein and monitored for tumor growth. Animals immunized i.n. with OVA and CT were protected against tumor development as efficiently as animals immunized by the potent CTL induction protocol of i.v. injection with OVA-pulsed dendritic cells. Intranasal immunization with peptides corresponding to known CTL epitopes and CT provides a noninvasive route of immunization for the induction of CTL responses in vivo.