? 2015 Nguyen et al.F4 enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) cause diarrhoea and mortality in piglets leading to severe economic losses. Oral immunization of piglets with F4 fimbriae induces a protective intestinal immune response evidenced by an F4-specific serum and intestinal IgA response. However, successful oral immunization of pigs with F4 fimbriae in the presence of maternal immunity has not been demonstrated yet. In the present study we aimed to evaluate the effect of maternal immunity on the induction of a systemic immune response upon oral immunization of piglets. Whereas F4-specific IgG and IgA could be induced by oral immunization of pigs without maternal antibodies and by intramuscular immunization of pigs with maternal antibodies, no such response was seen in the orally immunized animals with maternal antibodies. Since maternal antibodies can mask an antibody response, we also looked by ELIspot assays for circulating F4-specific antibody secreting cells (ASCs). Enumerating the F4-specific ASCs within the circulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and the number of F4-specific IgA ASCs within the circulating IgA<sup>+</sup> B-cells revealed an F4-specific immune response in the orally immunized animals with maternal antibodies. Interestingly, results suggest a more robust IgA booster response by oral immunization of pigs with than without maternal antibodies. These results demonstrate that oral immunization of piglets with F4-specific maternal antibodies is feasible and that these maternal antibodies seem to enhance the secondary systemic immune response. Furthermore, our ELIspot assay on enriched IgA<sup>+</sup> B-cells could be used as a screening procedure to optimize mucosal immunization protocols in pigs with maternal immunity.
Nguyen, U. V., Melkebeek, V., Devriendt, B., Goetstouwers, T., Van Poucke, M., Peelman, L., … Cox, E. (2015). Maternal immunity enhances systemic recall immune responses upon oral immunization of piglets with F4 fimbriae. Veterinary Research, 46(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13567-015-0210-3