Vaccination with naked DNA may be an alternative to conventional vaccines because it combines the efficacy of attenuated vaccines with the biological safety of inactivated vaccines. We recently showed that the vaccination with naked DNA coding for the immunorelevant glycoprotein D (gD) of pseudorabies virus (PRV) induced both antibody and cell-mediated immunity in pigs and provided protection against challenge infection. To determine whether the efficacy of the naked DNA vaccination against PRV could be improved, we compared three sets of variables. First, the efficacy of the naked DNA vaccine coding only for the immunorelevant gD was compared with a cocktail vaccine containing additional plasmids coding for two other immunorelevant glycoproteins, gB and gC. Second, the intramuscular route of vaccination was compared with the intradermal route. Third, the commonly used needle method of inoculation was compared with the needleless Pigjet™ injector method. Five groups of five pigs were vaccinated three times at 4-weeks intervals and challenged with the virulent NIA-3 strain of PRV 6 weeks after the last vaccination. Results showed that although the cocktail vaccine induced stronger cell-mediated immune responses than the vaccine containing only gD plasmid, both vaccines protected pigs equally well against challenge infection. Intradermal inoculation with a needle induced significantly stronger antibody and cell-mediated immune responses and better protection against challenge infection than intramuscular inoculation. Our data show that the route of administering DNA vaccines in pigs is important for an optimal induction of protective immunity.
van Rooij, E. M. A., Haagmans, B. L., de Visser, Y. E., de Bruin, M. G. M., Boersma, W., & Bianchi, A. T. J. (1998). Effect of vaccination route and composition of DNA vaccine on the induction of protective immunity against pseudorabies infection in pigs. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, 66, 113-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0165-2427(98)00186-X