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Fish Shellfish Immunol. 2011 Apr-May;30(4-5):1080-6. doi: 10.1016/j.fsi.2011.02.006. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia and autoantibody production induced by vaccination in farmed Atlantic salmon.

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Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-0221, USA.


The introduction of oil-adjuvanted vaccines in salmon aquaculture made large-scale production feasible by reducing the impact of infections. Vaccines given intraperitoneally (ip) contain oil adjuvant such as mineral oil. However, in rodents, a single ip injection of adjuvant hydrocarbon oil induces lupus-like systemic autoimmune syndrome. We have recently reported that autoimmune disease in farmed salmon, characterized by production of various autoantibodies, immune complex glomerulonephritis, liver thrombosis, and spinal deformity, are previously unrecognized side effects of vaccination. In the present study, we examined whether vaccination-induced autoantibody production in farmed Atlantic salmon is a mere result of polyclonal B-cell activation. Sera were collected from 205 vaccinated and unvaccinated Atlantic salmon (experimental, 7 farms) and wild salmon. Total IgM levels and autoantibodies to salmon blood cell (SBC) extract in sera were measured by ELISA and the relationship between hypergammaglobulinemia and autoantibody production was analyzed. Comparison of endpoint titers vs levels/units using a single dilution of sera in detection of autoantibodies to SBC showed near perfect correlation, justifying the use of the latter for screening. Both total IgM and anti-SBC antibodies are increased in vaccinated salmon compared with unvaccinated controls, however, they do not always correlate well when compared between groups or between individuals, suggesting the involvement of antigen-specific mechanisms in the production of anti-SBC autoantibodies. The primary considerations of successful vaccine for aquaculture are cost-effectiveness and safety. Vaccination-induced autoimmunity in farmed Atlantic salmon may have consequences on future vaccine development and salmon farming strategy. Evaluation for polyclonal hypergamamglobulinemia and autoimmunity should be included as an important trait when vaccine efficacy and safety are evaluated in future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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