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Clin Microbiol Rev. 2003 Jan;16(1):65-78.

Molecular host-pathogen interaction in brucellosis: current understanding and future approaches to vaccine development for mice and humans.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, Department of Animal Health and Biomedical Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Brucellosis caused by Brucella spp. is a major zoonotic disease. Control of brucellosis in agricultural animals is a prerequisite for the prevention of this disease in human beings. Recently, Brucella melitensis was declared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be one of three major bioterrorist agents due to the expense required for the treatment of human brucellosis patients. Also, the economic agricultural loss due to bovine brucellosis emphasizes the financial impact of brucellosis in society. Thus, vaccination might efficiently solve this disease. Currently, B. abortus RB51 and B. melitensis REV.1 are used to immunize cattle and to immunize goats and sheep, respectively, in many countries. However, these genetically undefined strains still induce abortion and persistent infection, raising questions of safety and efficiency. In fact, the REV.1 vaccine is quite virulent and apparently unstable, creating the need for improved vaccines for B. melitensis. In addition, Brucella spp. may or may not provide cross-protection against infection by heterologous Brucella species, hampering the acceleration of vaccine development. This review provides our current understanding of Brucella pathogenesis and host immunity for the development of genetically defined efficient vaccine strains. Additionally, conditions required for an effective Brucella vaccine strain as well as the future research direction needed to investigate Brucella pathogenesis and host immunity are postulated.

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