Maternal immunization with vaccines containing recombinant NetB toxin partially protects progeny chickens from necrotic enteritis

Anthony Keyburn, Ricardo W Portela, Mark E Ford, Trudi Leanne Bannam, Xuxia Yan, Julian Ian Rood, Robert John Moore

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Avian necrotic enteritis is a major economic and welfare issue throughout the global poultry industry and is caused by isolates of Clostridium perfringens that produce NetB toxin. Previously we have shown that birds directly vaccinated with inactivated C. perfringens type A culture supernatant (toxoid) combined with recombinant NetB (rNetB) protein were significantly protected from homologous and heterologous challenge. In the present study the protective effect of maternal immunization was examined. Broiler breeder hens were injected subcutaneously with genetically toxoided rNetB(S254L) alone, C. perfringens type A toxoid and toxoid combined with rNetB(S254L). Vaccination resulted in a strong serum immunoglobulin Y response to NetB in hens immunized with rNetB(S254L) formulations. Anti-NetB antibodies were transferred to the eggs and on into the hatched progeny. Subclinical necrotic enteritis was induced experimentally in the progeny and the occurrence of specific necrotic enteritis lesions evaluated. Birds derived from hens immunized with rNetB(S254L) combined with toxoid and challenged with a homologous strain (EHE-NE18) at either 14 or 21 days post-hatch had significantly lower levels of disease compared to birds from adjuvant only vaccinated hens. In addition, birds from hens immunized with rNetB(S254L) alone were significantly protected when challenged at 14 days post-hatch. These results demonstrate that maternal immunization with a NetB-enhanced toxoid vaccine is a promising method for the control of necrotic enteritis in young broiler chickens.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108
Pages (from-to)1 - 7
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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