Most vaccines currently available to prevent human or animal diseases are administered by intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. Immunization through parenteral route elicits good systemic responses, although it generally fails to provide protective immunity at the mucosae. However, most pathogens gain access into their hosts through mucosal surfaces, which constitute the first line of defence against invading microorganisms.
This project will evaluate the antiviral immune responses at the respiratory mucosa induced by intranasal immunization against the porcine respiratory and reproductive virus (PRRSV), a respiratory pathogen of pigs that causes significant losses to producers. We hypothesize that intranasal vaccination will ameliorate respiratory disease following experimental challenge ,by enhancing anti-PRRSV specific secretory IgA and CTL responses at the bronchus associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) and upper respiratory tract mucosa. To test our hypothesis we will first measure systemic and mucosal responses elicited by intranasal or intramuscular immunization with a PRRSV-modified live vaccine.
In a second experiment we will assess protection induced by parenteral versus intranasal immunization, following challenge with a homologus pathogenic strain. For the execution of this project we will develop the techniques and protocols necessary to evaluate antigen-specific immune responses at the respiratory tract. We will attempt to isolate pulmonary resident lymphocytes to conduct functional analyses (i.e. ex vivo antigen-specific proliferation and cytokine secretion, following stimulation with PRRSV). The successful completion of this proposal will contribute to the field of mucosal immunology and vaccine development and will be of benefit for the future study of other respiratory pathogens.
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