Immunization with recombinant alpha toxin partially protects broiler chicks against experimental challenge with Clostridium perfringens

K. K. Cooper, H. T. Trinh, J. Glenn Songer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

Necrotic enteritis (NE) in poultry has re-emerged as a concern for poultry producers, due in part to banning, by many countries, of the use of antimicrobial growth promoters in feeds. This re-emergence has led to a search for alternative methods for control of the disease, particularly vaccination. The objective of this work was to determine if vaccination of broiler chicks with recombinant alpha toxin protected against experimental challenge. Broiler chicks were vaccinated subcutaneously at 5 and 15 days of age, followed 10 days later by challenge with Clostridium perfringens. Birds were challenged twice daily on 4 consecutive days by mixing C. perfringens cultures with feed (three parts culture: four parts feed). Non-vaccinated birds challenged with C. perfringens developed NE at the rate of 87.8%, while only 54.9% of vaccinated birds developed lesions. In addition, non-vaccinated birds had lesion scores averaging 2.37, while average scores in vaccinated birds were 1.35. Vaccination produced an antibody response, with post-vaccination anti-alpha toxin IgG (IgY) titers in vaccinated birds more than 5-fold greater than in non-vaccinated birds. After challenge, vaccinated birds had average IgG (IgY) titers >15-fold higher than those in non-vaccinated birds. These results suggest that alpha toxin may serve as an effective immunogen, and, as such, may play a role in pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-97
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Volume133
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alpha toxin
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Necrotic enteritis
  • Poultry
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • veterinary(all)

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