Reduction in transplacental transmission of Neospora caninum in outbred mice by vaccination

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Journal Article
International Journal for Parasitology, 2005, 35 (7), pp. 821 - 828
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Infection with the protozoan parasite Neospora caninum is an important cause of abortion in cattle. A major source of infection is transplacental transfer of the parasite from mother to offspring during pregnancy. This study describes investigations on the immunisation of outbred Qs mice before pregnancy with live or a crude lysate of N. caninum (NC-Nowra isolate) to prevent transplacental transfer of a challenge infection administered during pregnancy. Parasites present in the brains of pups from mice challenged with N. caninum (NC-Liverpool) were detected by PCR. Injection of live NC-Nowra tachyzoites before pregnancy dramatically reduced transplacental transfer from 75 to 0.8% in one experiment and from 76 to 8% in a second experiment. Injection of a crude lysate of NC-Nowra tachyzoites reduced transplacental transfer from 67 to 53% in one experiment and from 76 to 63% in a second experiment. Analysis of N. caninum-specific IgG1 and IgG2a antibody levels prior to pregnancy and challenge showed that NC-Nowra lysate induced a response skewed towards IgG1 whereas live parasites induced both IgG1 and IgG2a antibodies. After pregnancy and a challenge infection, a similar IgG1/IgG2a response was seen in all challenged groups. These results provide further positive support for the hypothesis that transplacental transmission of this parasite is preventable by vaccination. © 2005 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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