Oral vaccination stimulates neutrophil functionality and exerts protection in a Mycobacterium avium

Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Map) causes paratuberculosis (PTB), a granulomatous enteritis in ruminants that exerts high economic impact on the dairy industry worldwide. Current vaccines have shown to be cost-effective against Map and in some cases confer beneficial non-specific effects against other pathogens suggesting the existence of trained immunity. Although Map infection is mainly transmitted by the fecal-oral route, oral vaccination has not been deeply studied. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the oral route with a set of mycobacterial and non-mycobacterial vaccines with a subcutaneously administered commercially available vaccine. Training effects on polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) and homologous and heterologous in vivo protection against Map were investigated in the rabbit infection model.

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Fig:  Experimental scheme: Interventions and sampling points used to study trained immunity in ex vivo functional assays and protection in vivo after infectious challenge with Map.

Oral vaccination with inactivated or live vaccines was able to activate mucosal immunity as seen by elevation of serum IgA and the expression of IL4 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). In addition, peripheral PMN phagocytosis against Map was enhanced by vaccination and extracellular trap release against Map and non-related pathogens was modified by both, vaccination and Map-challenge, indicating trained immunity. Finally, PBMCs from vaccinated animals stimulated in vitro with Map antigens showed a rapid innate activation cytokine profile. In conclusion, our data show that oral vaccination against PTB can stimulate neutrophil activity and both innate and adaptive immune responses that correlate with protection.

Ladero-Auñon, I., Molina, E., Oyanguren, M. et al. Oral vaccination stimulates neutrophil functionality and exerts protection in aMycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection model. npj Vaccines 6, 102 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41541-021-00367-8

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