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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2011 Apr;18(4):684-91. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00288-10. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

A Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar Hardjo vaccine induces a Th1 response, activates NK cells, and reduces renal colonization.

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  • 1Infectious Bacterial Diseases Research Unit, USDA, ARS, National Animal Disease Center, Ames, Iowa 50010, USA.


Chronic infection of cattle with Leptospira borgpetersenii serovar Hardjo reduces animal production through reproductive failure and presents a persistent health threat to workers in the animal industry. Cattle are maintenance hosts for serovar Hardjo, and development of vaccines that establish long-term protective immunity has been problematic; induction of high titers of anti-serovar Hardjo antibody does not appear to be protective. Rather, development of an antigen-specific Th1 response appears to be critical for limiting renal colonization and urinary shedding of bacteria. In this study we compared two monovalent killed bacterial cell vaccines to assess long-term (12 months) protection against live serovar Hardjo challenge. Although neither vaccine prevented infection, renal colonization and urinary shedding of bacteria were reduced compared to those of control animals. Increased proliferation of CD4(+), CD8(+), and γδ T cells from vaccinated, but not control, animals was detected. In addition, NK cells from vaccinated animals and from all animals following infection, when exposed to antigen ex vivo, demonstrated a gamma interferon (IFN-γ) recall response. We propose that programming NK cells to respond quickly to L. borgpetersenii serovar Hardjo infection may be an important step toward developing protective immunity.

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