Campylobacter is the leading cause of foodborne diarrhoeal illness in the developed world and consumption or handling of contaminated poultry meat is the principal source of infection. Strategies to control Campylobacter in broilers prior to slaughter are urgently required and are predicted to limit the incidence of human campylobacteriosis. Towards this aim, a purified recombinant subunit vaccine based on the superoxide dismutase (SodB) protein of C. jejuni M1 was developed and tested in White Leghorn birds. Birds were vaccinated on the day of hatch and 14 days later with SodB fused to glutathione S-transferase (GST) or purified GST alone. Birds were challenged with C. jejuni M1 at 28 days of age and caecal Campylobacter counts determined at weekly intervals. Across three independent trials, the vaccine induced a statistically significant 1 log10 reduction in caecal Campylobacter numbers in vaccinated birds compared to age-matched GST-vaccinated controls. Significant induction of antigen-specific serum IgY was detected in all vaccinated birds, however the magnitude and timing of SodB-specific IgY did not correlate with lower numbers of C. jejuni. Antibodies from SodB-vaccinated chickens detected the protein in the periplasm and not membrane fractions or on the bacterial surface, suggesting that the protection observed may not be strictly antibody-mediated. SodB may be useful as a constituent of vaccines for control of C. jejuni infection in broiler birds, however modest protection was observed late relative to the life of broiler birds and further studies are required to potentiate the magnitude and timing of protection.
Chintoan-Uta, C., Cassady-Cain, R. L., Al-Haideri, H., Watson, E., Kelly, D. J., Smith, D. G. E., … Stevens, M. P. (2015). Superoxide dismutase SodB is a protective antigen against Campylobacter jejuni colonisation in chickens. Vaccine, 33(46), 6206–6211. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.09.100