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  • Author or Editor: Jocelyne M. Bray x
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine the effects of transfusion of Rhodococcus equi hyperimmune plasma (REHIP) on serum concentrations of complement component 1q (C1q) and to examine the association of serum C1q and anti-rhodococcal antibodies of newborn foals with subsequent development of rhodococcal pneumonia.

ANIMALS/SAMPLES

Foals (n = 205) from 2 Thoroughbred breeding farms in New York transfused with REHIP between January 1, 2022, and December 1, 2022.

PROCEDURES

Blood was collected immediately before transfusion with REHIP and again from the contralateral vein immediately after transfusion. Foals were followed through weaning for clinical and ultrasonographic evidence of rhodococcal pneumonia. Serum samples were tested by ELISA for concentrations of C1q and for activity of IgG1 and IgG4/7 recognizing the virulence-associated protein A (VapA) of R equi. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the association between rhodococcal pneumonia and levels of C1q and anti-VapA IgG1 and IgG4/7.

RESULTS

REHIP significantly decreased C1q concentrations immediately after transfusion. Accounting for effects of farm and birth month, estimated odds of pneumonia were 2.1-fold (P = .0330) higher for foals with pretransfusion C1q concentrations less than or equal to the population median and 3.3-fold (P = .0051) higher for foals with posttransfusion IgG1 activity in the lower quartile.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Both C1q and IgG appear to contribute to protection against R equi, and IgG1 appears to be especially important. Increasing IgG1 concentrations targeting rhodococcal proteins in REHIP or serum of foals might improve protection against R equi foal pneumonia.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Design and evaluate immune responses of neonatal foals to a mRNA vaccine expressing the virulence-associated protein A (VapA) of Rhodococcus equi.

ANIMALS

Cultured primary equine respiratory tract cells; Serum, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 30 healthy Quarter Horse foals.

METHODS

VapA expression was evaluated by western immunoblot in cultured equine bronchial cells transfected with 4 mRNA constructs encoding VapA. The mRNA construct with greatest expression was used to immunize foals at ages 2 and 21 days in 5 groups: (1) 300 μg nebulized mRNA (n = 6); (2) 600 μg nebulized mRNA (n = 4); (3) 300 μg mRNA administered intramuscularly (IM) (n = 5); (4) 300 μg VapA IM (positive controls; n = 6); or (5) nebulized water (negative controls; n = 6). Serum, BALF, and PBMCs were collected at ages 3, 22, and 35 days and tested for relative anti-VapA IgG1, IgG4/7, and IgA activities using ELISA and cell-mediated immunity by ELISpot.

RESULTS

As formulated, nebulized mRNA was not immunogenic. However, a significant increase in anti-VapA IgG4/7 activity (P < .05) was noted exclusively in foals immunized IM with VapA mRNA by age 35 days. The proportion of foals with anti-VapA IgG1 activity > 30% of positive control differed significantly (P = .0441) between negative controls (50%; 3/6), IM mRNA foals (100%; 5/5), and IM VapA (100%; 6/6) groups. Natural exposure to virulent R equi was immunogenic in some negative control foals.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Further evaluation of the immunogenicity and efficacy of IM mRNA encoding VapA in foals is warranted.

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research