Immunological aspects of oral vaccination in fish

P.H.M. Joosten

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU



In this thesis immunological consequences of oral vaccination in fish have been described. The efficacy of oral vaccination can be increased by protection of the antigen against degradation in the foregut, in order to reach the hindgut in sufficient quantities for uptake and subsequent activation of the mucosal and systemic immune system. Using a specific monoclonal antibody, in addition to mucosal B cells, a distinct mucosal T cell population was demonstrated, which may play an important role in local immunity. Furthermore, two approaches to protect antigens against digestive degradation are described: bioencapsulation and microencapsulation. For the first approach antigen is encapsulated in living food, and subsequently fed to juvenile carp and seabream. In carp, oral vaccination at 2 and 4 weeks old resulted in immunological tolerance. However, in older carp (8 weeks old) and seabream (8 and 10 weeks old), immunological memory was induced. It can be concluded that oral vaccination with bioencapsulated bacterial antigens is effective for oral vaccination of juvenile fish, when applied at the right age. For microencapsulation an alginate microparticle system was studied, which may be more suitable for vaccination of older fish. The supernatant appeared to be the most immunogenic fraction of a bacterin, which is taken up in the hindgut and evokes best memory formation. This fraction was encapsulated in alginate microparticles and fed to adult carp and trout. Different microparticle preparations, with respect to release time and antigen concentration, were needed for immunological memory formation in each fish species. Therefore, oral vaccination with bacterial antigens in alginate microparticles can be effective. Oral tolerance against protein antigens was demonstrated in animals fed with ferritin or recombinant VHS G protein. However, the immune response to ovalbumin appeared to be carp strain dependent. A carp strain that produced specific antibodies after injection with OVA was selected and repeated feeding of OVA, prior to injection, resulted in increased antibody titres in serum. Oral tolerance induction in fish therefore appeared to depend on the protein and possibly also on genetic factors.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • van Muiswinkel, W.B., Promotor, External person
  • Rombout, J.H.W.M., Promotor, External person
Award date22 May 1997
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789054856986
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • fishes
  • veterinary science
  • vaccination
  • immunization
  • immunotherapy
  • vaccines
  • drugs
  • pharmacology
  • application methods
  • reticuloendothelial system
  • antibodies
  • immunoglobulins
  • immunological techniques
  • elisa
  • immunochemistry


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