Neuraminidase and pneumolysin were purified from cultures of Streptococcus pneumoniae and used, either singly or in combination, to immunize juvenile mice which were subsequently challenged intranasally with virulent S. pneumoniae. In each of two independent trials, a small but significant (P < 0.05) increase in survival time (compared with that of non-immunized mice) was observed in groups which had been immunized with neuraminidase, but only if the enzyme had been pre-treated with 3.4% ( v v) formaldehyde. The median extension in survival time was significantly less (P < 0.01) than that of mice which had been immunized with pneumolysin alone. The median survival time for mice which had received both formaldehyde-treated neuraminidase and pneumolysin was not significantly different from that of mice which had received pneumolysin alone. While these findings provide direct evidence that neuraminidase contributes to the pathogenicity of the pneumococcus in mice, they suggest that this protein may be of less value than pneumolysin as a vaccine component in the present experimental model. © 1988.
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