Active immunization against gonadotrophin-releasing hormone in Chinese male pigs: effects of dose on antibody titer, hormone levels and sexual development

X.Y. Zeng, J.A. Turkstra, R.H. Meloen, X.Y. Liu, F.Q. Chen, W.M.M. Schaaper, H.B. Oonk, D.Z. Guo, D.F.M. van de Wiel

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    Abstract

    The objective of this study was to determine the optimal dose of a GnRH vaccine for immunocastration of Chinese male pigs, based on immune, endocrine and testicular responses. Forty-two crossbred (Chinese Yanan x Large White) male pigs were randomly assigned to one of the five treatments as follows: (I) 0 μg (control, n = 8); (II) 10 μg (n = 8); (III) 62.5 μg (n = 8); (IV) 125 μg (n = 8); (V) 250 μg (n = 10), D-Lys6-GnRH tandem dimer (TDK) peptide equivalent of conjugate (TDK-OVA), using Specol as the adjuvant. Pigs were immunized at 13 and 21 weeks of age and were slaughtered at 31 weeks of age. Blood samples for antibody titer and hormone assays were collected at 13, 21, 24 and 31 weeks of age. At these time-points, testis size was also measured. At slaughter, testis weight was recorded and fat samples were collected for androstenone assay. Four animals, one out of each immunized group, responded poorly to the immunization (non-responders). At slaughter, serum testosterone and LH levels, fat androstenone levels and testis size/weight of these non-responders were similar to those in control animals. Antibody titers of non-responders were substantially lower (P < 0.05) than in other immunized pigs. For the animals that responded well to the immunization (immunocastrated pigs), serum testosterone and LH levels, fat androstenone levels and testis size or weight were reduced (P < 0.05) as compared to either controls or non-responders, at all doses tested. There was a significant effect of dose of TDK-OVA on antibody titers. The overall mean antibody titers in the 62.5 or 125 μg dose group (53.6 and 50.5% binding, respectively) were significantly higher than in the 10 or 250 μg group (39.2 and 40.24% binding, respectively). At slaughter, there was a significant dose effect on testis size or weight and on serum testosterone levels, but there was no dose effect on serum LH levels and fat androstenone levels. Testis size or weight in the 10 μg group was reduced to a lesser extent (P < 0.05) than in the three higher dose groups. At slaughter, in comparison to controls, mean testis size of immunocastrated pigs in treatments II-V was reduced to 55, 21, 33 and 25%, respectively, whereas testis weight was reduced to 39, 12, 18 and 14%, respectively. Reduction of testis size and/or weight is important for visual assessment of castration at the slaughterline, therefore, it is concluded that a dose of 10 μg peptide is not suitable. We conclude that, within the dose-range studied, the 62.5 μg dose is optimal for future GnRH immunization studies or future practical use in immunocastration of Chinese male pigs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)223-233
    JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
    Volume70
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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