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Infect Immun. Aug 1988; 56(8): 1880–1889.
PMCID: PMC259496

Virulence properties and protective efficacy of the capsular polymer of Haemophilus (Actinobacillus) pleuropneumoniae serotype 5.


The role of the capsule of Haemophilus (Actinobacillus) pleuropneumoniae serotype 5 in bacterial virulence, and the protective efficacy of antibody to serotype 5 capsule was investigated. Encapsulated H. pleuropneumoniae serotype 5 were resistant to killing by complement and antibody to capsule or somatic antigens, whereas a noncapsulated mutant was sensitive to killing by the alternative complement pathway alone. Antiserum to whole H. pleuropneumoniae serotype 5 bacteria or monospecific antiserum to capsule was capable of opsonizing bacteria of the homologous serotype for phagocytosis by swine polymorphonuclear leukocytes but was not opsonic for a heterologous serotype. An immunoglobulin M monoclonal antibody to the serotype 5 capsule was not opsonic for any serotype. Mice were protected against lethal, intranasal challenge with the homologous or heterologous serotype after immunization with live encapsulated or noncapsulated bacteria, but not after immunization with killed bacteria, lipopolysaccharide, or a capsule-protein conjugate vaccine. The protection induced by immunization with live bacteria was transferred to nonimmune, syngeneic mice by serum but not by spleen cells. Nonimmune pigs passively immunized with monospecific swine serum to capsule were protected from lethal infection but not from development of hemorrhagic lung lesions, whereas pigs passively immunized with swine antiserum to live bacteria did not develop severe respiratory lesions. Thus, the capsule of H. pleuropneumoniae serotype 5 was inhibitory to the bactericidal activity of serum and was antiphagocytic. Antibody to the capsule was opsonic but was not fully protective.

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