Enhancement of respiratory immunity to Pasteurella multocida by cholera toxin in rabbits

M. A. Suckow, T. L. Bowersock, K. Nielsen, C. F. Grigdesby

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19 Scopus citations


Cholera toxin (CT) is a potent adjuvant for the mucosal immune system. The purpose of this study was to determine if coadministration of CT with a potassium thiocyanate extract of Pasteurella multocida (PTE) leads to enhanced anti-PTE antibody activity and increased protection of rabbits against infection with P. multocida and associated disease. Groups of rabbits were immunized intranasally on days 0, 7, and 14, with phosphate buffered saline (PBS), 200 μg of CT, 1.0 mg of PTE, or 1.0 mg PTE with 200 μg CT. Nasal lavage and serum samples were collected over 28 days after initial immunization and evaluated by ELISA for specific antibody directed against PTE. Marked increases in serum (IgG) and nasal lavage (IgA) anti-PTE antibody activity were found beginning after day 14 in rabbits immunized with PTE. Rabbits immunized with PTE and CT demonstrated further increases in this activity. Tracheobronchial lavage samples collected at the time of necropsy demonstrated a significant level of anti-PTE IgA activity in animals immunized with PTE, and coadministration with CT stimulated a further significant increase in this activity. Groups of similarly immunized rabbits were challenged 16 days after initial immunization with 5 x 107 CFUs of P. multocida. Nasal lavage samples were cultured for P. multocida over the next 10 days. Rabbits were euthanized within 10 days after challenge, tissues cultured for P. multocida, and histopathologic lesion severity graded using a numeric scale. Rabbits immunized with PTE survived longer, had less severe lesions of the lungs, pleura, and liver, and fewer P. multocida CFUs cultured from samples than PBS or CT controls. Coadministration of CT led to further reductions in lesion severity of those tissues and numbers of P. multocida CFUs cultured from samples. Increased nasal turbinate atrophy of rabbits immunized with PTE with or without CT was associated with increased mean survival time. In summary, coadministration of CT with PTE enhanced protective immunity to P. multocida disease and infection in rabbits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-126
Number of pages7
JournalLaboratory Animals
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996


  • Cholera toxin
  • Pasteurella multocida
  • Rabbit
  • Toxin


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