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Vet Parasitol. 2007 Sep 30;148(3-4):219-30. Epub 2007 Jul 24.

Reduced cerebral infection of Neospora caninum in BALB/c mice vaccinated with recombinant Brucella abortus RB51 strains expressing N. caninum SRS2 and GRA7 proteins.

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Department of Comparative Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


Neospora caninum, an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite, is the causative agent of bovine neosporosis, an important disease affecting the reproductive performance of cattle worldwide. Currently there is no effective vaccine available to prevent N. caninum infection in cattle. In this study, we examined the feasibility of developing a live, recombinant N. caninum vaccine using Brucella abortus vaccine strain RB51 as the expression and delivery vector. We generated two recombinant RB51 strains each expressing SRS2 (RB51/SRS2) or GRA7 (RB51/GRA7) antigens of N. caninum. BALB/c mice immunized by single intraperitoneal inoculation of the recombinant RB51 strains developed IgG antibodies specific to the respective N. caninum antigen. In vitro stimulation of splenocytes from the vaccinated mice with specific antigen resulted in the production of interferon-gamma, but not IL-5 or IL-10, suggesting the development of a Th1 type immune response. Upon challenge with N. caninum tachyzoites, mice vaccinated with strain RB51/SRS2, but not RB51/GRA7, showed significant resistance to cerebral infection when compared to the RB51 vaccinated mice, as determined by the tissue parasite load using a real-time quantitative TaqMan assay. Interestingly, mice vaccinated with either strain RB51 or RB51/GRA7 also contained significantly lower parasite burden in their brains compared to those inoculated with saline. Mice vaccinated with strain RB51/SRS2 or RB51/GRA7 were protected to the same extent as the strain RB51 vaccinated mice against challenge with B. abortus virulent strain 2308. These results suggest that a recombinant RB51 strain expressing an appropriate protective antigen(s), such as SRS2 of N. caninum, can confer protection against both neosporosis and brucellosis.

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