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

Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, University of Arizona, 1117 E. Lowell Street, Tucson, AZ 85721, United States.
Veterinary Microbiology (Impact Factor: 2.73). 01/2009; 133(1-2):92-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2008.06.001
Source: PubMed

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.

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