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  • Author or Editor: Luc Berghman x
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To identify protective equine rotavirus group A (ERVA) VP8 epitopes and demonstrate that immunizing hens with synthetic peptides based on these epitopes would yield high-titered, neutralizing egg yolk antibodies for potential application in foals.

ANIMALS

26 rotavirus-positive, client-owned foals were included in the study. Five white leghorn hens were used for antibody production.

METHODS

Chicken antibodies were raised against 3 synthetic epitope peptides from the VP8 protein of the common ERVA P-type, P4[12] using CD40-targeted streptavidin-peptide complexes. Antipeptide serum- and egg yolk antibodies were subject to ELISA and in vitro virus neutralization assays to evaluate binding and neutralization activities. Lyophilized anti-VP8 egg yolk antibodies were orally administered (30 g; q 24 h for 5 days) to foals with rotaviral diarrhea. Physical examinations were performed daily. The duration of diarrhea and any adverse effects were recorded.

RESULTS

CD40-targeted vaccination of hens generated high titers of anti-VP8 serum and egg yolk antibodies after just 3 immunizations. These antibodies prevented in vitro infection of ERVA with titers of 128 in the serum and 94.5 in the yolk. Oral administration (30 g; q 24 h for 5 days) of lyophilized hyperimmune egg yolk to foals with rotaviral diarrhea did not reveal any adverse effects of the treatment.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

This study demonstrated that antibodies raised against neutralizing epitopes of the ERVA VP8 protein could prevent ERVA infection in vitro. Based on these results and previous work in other animals, in vivo evaluation of the therapeutic efficacy of anti-VP8 egg yolk antibodies is warranted.

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