Vaccination with recombinant NetB toxin partially protects broiler chickens from necrotic enteritis

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

NetB toxin from Clostridium perfringens is a major virulence factor in necrotic enteritis in poultry. In this study the efficacy of NetB as a vaccine antigen to protect chickens from necrotic enteritis was examined. Broiler chickens were immunized subcutaneously with purified recombinant NetB (rNetB), formalin treated bacterin and cell free toxoid with or without rNetB supplementation. Intestinal lesion scores and NetB antibody levels were measured to determine protection after mild oral gavage, moderate in-feed and heavy in-feed challenges with virulent C. perfringens isolates. Birds immunized with rNetB were significantly protected against necrotic enteritis when challenged with a mild oral dose of virulent bacteria, but were not protected when a more robust challenge was used. Bacterin and cell free toxoid without rNetB supplementation did not protect birds from moderate and severe in-feed challenge. Only birds immunized with bacterin and cell free toxoid supplemented with rNetB showed significant protection against moderate and severe in-feed challenge, with the later giving the greatest protection. Higher NetB antibody titres were observed in birds immunized with rNetB compared to those vaccinated with bacterin or toxoid, suggesting that the in vitro levels of NetB produced by virulent C. perfringens isolates are too low to induce the development of a strong immune response. These results suggest that vaccination with NetB alone may not be sufficient to protect birds from necrotic enteritis in the field, but that in combination with other cellular or cell-free antigens it can significantly protect chickens from disease.
Original languageEnglish
Article number54
Pages (from-to)1 - 8
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Research
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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