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Evaluation of protective and immune responses following vaccination with recombinant MIP and CPAF from Chlamydia abortus as novel vaccines for enzootic abortion of ewes

O'Neill, L.M., Keane, O.M., Ross, P.J., Nally, J.E., Seshu, J., Markey, B.
Vaccine 2019 v.37 no.36 pp. 5428-5438
Chlamydia, Chlamydophila abortus, abortion (animals), antibodies, bacteria, bacterial shedding, birth weight, blood sampling, enzootic diseases, ewes, immune response, interleukin-10, lambing, lambs, pregnancy, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, vaccination, vaccines
MIP and CPAF from Chlamydia have been shown to be effective in inducing immune responses important in clearing chlamydial infections. This study evaluates the protection conferred by MIP and CPAF as novel vaccines in pregnant C. abortus challenged ewes. Fifty C. abortus sero-negative sheep were randomly allocated into 5 groups of 10 according to the treatment they were to receive (1) 100 µg of MBP-MIP (2) 100 µg CPAF (3) 50 µg MBP-MIP and 50 µg CPAF (4) Tris-buffer (negative control) (5) Enzovax (positive control). Booster inoculations were administered 3 weeks after primary inoculations. Blood samples were taken pre-vaccination and weekly for 5 weeks. Five months after vaccination the ewes were mated. Pregnant ewes were then challenged on day 90 of gestation. Blood samples taken at four time-points post challenge were analysed for IFNγ levels, TNFα and IL-10 expression and anti-chlamydial antibody levels. Vaginal swabs, placental and foetal tissue and bacterial shedding were analysed using qPCR to quantify levels of C. abortus. Enzovax was 100% effective with no abortions occurring. The MIP/CPAF combined vaccine offered the greatest protection of the novel vaccines with 67% of ewes giving birth to one or more live lambs equating to a 50% vaccine efficacy rate. MIP and CPAF administered singly did not confer protection. Enzovax and MIP/CPAF vaccinated ewes had longer gestations and lambs with higher birth weights than negative control ewes. Aborting ewes shed higher numbers of C. abortus than ewes that had live lambs, all vaccinated ewes demonstrated lower levels of bacterial shedding than negative control ewes with Enzovax ewes shedding significantly fewer bacteria. Ewes that went on to abort had significantly higher levels of IFNγ and IL-10 at day 35 post challenge and significantly higher levels of anti-chlamydial antibodies at 24 h post lambing compared to ewes that had live lambs.