Oral delivery of microencapsulated antigens is a potential means to vaccinate rabbits against Pasteurella multocida, a common bacterial pathogen. Groups of five rabbits were dosed orally on days 0, 7, and 14 with alginate microspheres prepared to contain no added protein, 5 mg of a potassium thiocyanate extract of P. multocida (PTE), or 5 mg of PTE with 200 μg of cholera toxin (CT). In addition, groups were dosed orally with 5 mg of soluble PTE with or without 200 μg CT, intranasally (IN) with 1 mg of soluble PTE, or with saline. Serum and nasal lavage samples collected prior to initial immunization and 10, 16, and 21 days later were assayed by ELISA for anti-PTE IgG and IgA. Strong nasal lavage IgA and serum IgG activities were found in samples from rabbits immunized with PTE IN or orally when incorporated into microspheres. Addition of CT did not significantly enhance either response. To examine the development of protective immunity, groups were similarly immunized and challenge-exposed IN on day 16 with 106 CFU of P. multocida. One week later, rabbits were euthanized, and specimens from the lungs, nasopharynx, liver, and inner ear were cultured for P. multocida. Less severe infections of the lung and nasopharynx developed in rabbits immunized with PTE IN or orally in microspheres, with or without added CT. In addition, culture of liver and tympanic bullae samples from these rabbits yielded growth of P. multocida less frequently compared to other P. multocida-challenged rabbits. Coadministration of CT and PTE did not significantly improve protective immunity to challenge.
- Pasteurella multocida