Preparation and characterization of polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies against Lawsonia intracellularis

Roberto M.C. Guedes, Connie J. Gebhart

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55 Scopus citations


Proliferative enteropathy is an intestinal infectious disease caused by the obligate intracellular bacterium Lawsonia intracellularis. Immunohistochemistry staining has superior sensitivity over hematoxylin and eosin and silver staining for detecting L. intracellularis in histological sections. A L. intracellularis-specific monoclonal antibody (MAb) produced in the UK (IG4 MAb) has been described in the literature. However, no monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies are commercially available. Therefore, the objective of this study was to produce and characterize new polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies against L. intracellularis that are suitable for diagnostic use. The new monoclonal (2001 MAb) and polyclonal antibodies (1999 PAb) were compared with the IG4 MAb using Western blot analysis of outer membrane proteins (OMPs) of 6 L. intracellularis isolates, Bilophila wadsworthia and Brachyspira hyodysenteriae and using immunohistochemistry of known positive and negative histologic samples and pure cultures of L. intracellularis, B. wadsworthia, B. hyodysenteriae, Salmonella choleraesuis, S. typhimurium, and Escherichia coli K88. Immunogold staining using 2001 MAb was performed to show the specificity of the antibody against an L. intracellularis surface protein. Western blot analysis showed that the 2001 MAb targeted an OMP of 77 kD, which made it different from the IG4 MAb that targeted an 18-kD OMP. The immunogold stain demonstrated the specificity of the 2001 MAb to a surface protein of L. intracellularis. The polyclonal antibody (1999 PAb) targeted 5 OMPs (77, 69, 54, 42, and 36 kD). Both the 2001 MAb and 1999 PAb stained known positive, but not negative, histologic samples. Both the 2001 MAb and 1999 PAb reacted with a pure culture of L. intracellularis but not with any other common enteric pathogens. These two new antibodies will be useful for immunodiagnosis of L. intracellularis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-446
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003


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