An experimental AIDS vaccine based on attenuated, recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV), when administered by a combination of parenteral and mucosal routes, has proven effective at preventing AIDS in a rhesus macaque model (Rose NF, et al. Cell 2001;106539-549). In an effort to determine the optimal route of vaccine administration we evaluated the ability of rVSV-based vaccine vectors expressing HIV-1 Env and SIV Gag proteins, when given either intramuscularly (i.m.) or intranasally (i.n.), to elicit antigen-specific cellular and humoral immune responses, and to protect from a subsequent vaginal challenge with simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV89.6P). Our results demonstrate that macaques vaccinated by the i.n. route developed significantly higher antigen-specific cellular immune responses as determined by MHC class I tetramer staining, IFN-gamma ELISPOT, and cytotoxic T cell assays. However, systemic and mucosal humoral immune responses did not vary significantly with the route of vaccine administration. Given the importance of cell-mediated immune responses in slowing AIDS progression, intranasal delivery of a VSV-based AIDS vaccine may be an optimal as well as practical route for vaccination and should be considered in design of clinical trials.