Campylobacter jejuni is the main cause of bacterial food-borne diseases in developed countries. Chickens are the most important source of human infection. Vaccination of poultry is an attractive strategy to reduce the number of C. jejuni in the intestinal tract of chickens. We investigated the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a recombinant C. jejuni flagellin-based subunit vaccine with intrinsic adjuvant activity. Toll-like receptor activation assays demonstrated the purity and TLR5 stimulating (adjuvant) activity of the vaccine. The antigen (20-40 μg) was administered in ovo to 18 day-old chicken embryos. Serum samples and intestinal content were assessed for antigen-specific systemic and mucosal humoral immune responses. In ovo vaccination resulted in the successful generation of IgY and IgM serum antibodies against the flagellin-based subunit vaccine as determined by ELISA and Western blotting. Vaccination did not induce significant amounts of flagellin-specific secretory IgA in the chicken intestine. Challenge of chickens with C. jejuni yielded similar intestinal colonization levels for vaccinated and control animals. Our results indicate that in ovo delivery of recombinant C. jejuni flagellin subunit vaccine is a feasible approach to yield a systemic humoral immune response in chickens but that a mucosal immune response may be needed to reduce C. jejuni colonization.
|Publication status||Published - 2016|