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Infect Immun. 2004 Jul;72(7):4031-9.

Oral vaccination with Brucella melitensis WR201 protects mice against intranasal challenge with virulent Brucella melitensis 16M.

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  • 1Department of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC 20306-6000, USA.


Human brucellosis can be acquired from infected animal tissues by ingestion, inhalation, or contamination of conjunctiva or traumatized skin by infected animal products. In addition, Brucella is recognized as a biowarfare threat agent. Although a vaccine to protect humans from natural or deliberate infection could be useful, vaccines presently used in animals are unsuitable for human use. We tested orally administered live, attenuated, purine auxotrophic B. melitensis WR201 bacteria for their ability to elicit cellular and humoral immune responses and to protect mice against intranasal challenge with B. melitensis 16M bacteria. Immunized mice made serum antibody to lipopolysaccharide and non-O-polysaccharide antigens. Splenocytes from immunized animals released interleukin-2 and gamma interferon when grown in cultures with Brucella antigens. Immunization led to protection from disseminated infection and enhanced clearance of the challenge inoculum from the lungs. Optimal protection required administration of live bacteria, was related to immunizing dose, and was enhanced by booster immunization. These results establish the usefulness of oral vaccination against respiratory challenge with virulent Brucella and suggest that WR201 should be further investigated as a vaccine to prevent human brucellosis.

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