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Clinical and Vaccine Immunology

Year: 2008  |  Volume: 15  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 359 - 366

Protection against Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Infection by Transcutaneous Immunization with Shiga Toxin Subunit B

C. Zhu, J. Yu, Z. Yang, K. Davis, H. Rios, B. Wang, G. Glenn and E. C. Boedeker

Abstract

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) strains are important human food-borne pathogens. EHEC strains elaborate potent Shiga toxins (Stx1, and/or Stx2) implicated in the development of hemorrhagic colitis (HC) or hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). In this report, we evaluated the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of Stx1 subunit B (StxB1) administered by transcutaneous immunization (TCI). Three groups of Dutch Belted rabbits received patches containing StxB1, StxB1 in combination with Escherichia coli heat-labile enterotoxin (LT), or LT alone. An additional group of naïve rabbits served as controls. The protective efficacy following TCI with StxB1 was assessed by challenging rabbits with a virulent Stx1-producing strain, RDEC-H19A, capable of inducing HC and HUS in rabbits. Antibodies specific to StxB1 from serum and bile samples were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and toxin neutralization test. Rabbits immunized with StxB1 demonstrated improved weight gain and reduced Stx-induced histopathology. Rabbits receiving StxB or StxB1/LT showed a significant increase in serum immunoglobulin G titers specific to StxB1 as well as toxin neutralization titers. These data demonstrated that the StxB delivered by TCI could induce significant systemic immune responses. Thus, Stx subunit B vaccine delivered by a patch for a high-risk population may be a practical approach to prevent (and/or reduce) Stx-induced pathology.

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