Early DNA vaccination of puppies against canine distemper in the presence of maternally derived immunity

Vaccine. 2004 Jan 26;22(5-6):650-4. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2003.08.022.


Canine distemper (CD) is a disease in carnivores caused by CD virus (CDV), a member of the morbillivirus genus. It still is a threat to the carnivore and ferret population. The currently used modified attenuated live vaccines have several drawbacks of which lack of appropriate protection from severe infection is the most outstanding one. In addition, puppies up to the age of 6-8 weeks cannot be immunized efficiently due to the presence of maternal antibodies. In this study, a DNA prime modified live vaccine boost strategy was investigated in puppies in order to determine if vaccinated neonatal dogs induce a neutralizing immune response which is supposed to protect animals from a CDV challenge. Furthermore, a single DNA vaccination of puppies, 14 days after birth and in the presence of high titers of CDV neutralizing maternal antibodies, induced a clear and significant priming effect observed as early as 3 days after the subsequent booster with a conventional CDV vaccine. It was shown that the priming effect develops faster and to higher titers in puppies preimmunized with DNA 14 days after birth than in those vaccinated 28 days after birth. Our results demonstrate that despite the presence of maternal antibodies puppies can be vaccinated using the CDV DNA vaccine, and that this vaccination has a clear priming effect leading to a solid immune response after a booster with a conventional CDV vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Distemper / immunology*
  • Distemper Virus, Canine / immunology
  • Dogs
  • Immunity, Maternally-Acquired / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / biosynthesis
  • Kinetics
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Vaccines, DNA / immunology*
  • Viral Proteins / immunology


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Vaccines, DNA
  • Viral Proteins