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Exp Parasitol. 2014 May;140:52-70. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2014.02.015. Epub 2014 Mar 3.

Vaccines against neosporosis: what can we learn from the past studies?

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  • 1Institute of Parasitology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Länggass-Strasse 122, CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland.
  • 2Institute of Parasitology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Länggass-Strasse 122, CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland. Electronic address:


Neospora caninum is an intracellular apicomplexan parasite, which is a leading cause of abortion in cattle; thus neosporosis represents an important veterinary health problem and is of high economic significance. The parasite can infect cattle via trans-placental transmission from an infected cow to its fetus (vertical transmission), or through the oral route via ingestion of food or water contaminated with oocysts that were previously shed with the feces of a canid definitive host (horizontal transmission). Although vaccination was considered a rational strategy to prevent bovine neosporosis, the only commercialized vaccine (Neoguard®) produced ambiguous results with relatively low efficacy, and was recently removed from the market. Therefore, there is a need to develop an efficient vaccine capable of preventing both, the horizontal transmission through infected food or water to a naïve animal as well as the vertical transmission from infected but clinically asymptomatic dams to the fetus. Different vaccine strategies have been investigated, including the use of live attenuated vaccines, killed parasite lysates, total antigens or antigen fractions from killed parasites, and subunit vaccines. The vast majority of experimental studies were performed in mice, and to a certain extent in gerbils, but there is also a large number of investigations that were conducted in cattle and sheep. However, it is difficult to directly compare these studies due to the high variability of the parameters employed. In this review, we will summarize the recent advances made in vaccine development against N. caninum in cattle and in mice and highlight the most important factors, which are likely to influence the degree of protection mediated by vaccination.


Animal model; Antigen; Apicomplexa; Immune response; Neospora caninum; Vaccine

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