Background: Recombinant subunit vaccines have been extensively evaluated as promising alternatives against leptospirosis. Here, we evaluated two proteins in formulations containing the adjuvant AddaVax™ as vaccine candidates for prevention and control of leptospirosis.
Methods: Recombinant proteins rErp Y-like and rLemA were characterized by ELISA to assess their ability to bind extracellular matrix (ECM) components and fibrinogen. Groups of eight hamsters were immunized intramuscularly with rErp Y-like or rLemA mixed with a squalene-based adjuvant (AddaVax), and then vaccine efficacy was determined in terms of protection against a lethal challenge. The humoral immune response was determined by ELISA, and the evidence of sub-lethal infection was evaluated by histopathology and kidney culture.
Results: rLemA protein binds laminin, fibrinogen, and collagen type IV, while rErp Y-like interacts with fibrinogen. Significant protection was achieved for rLemA and rErp Y-like vaccines, which showed 87.5% and 62.5% survivals, respectively. On day 28, the humoral immune response was significantly greater in the vaccine groups as compared to that in the control group, and the response was predominantly based on IgG2/3. The surviving animals showed negative results in culture isolation but presented with tissue lesions in the lungs and kidneys.
Conclusion: Cumulatively, our findings suggest that LemA and Erp Y-like proteins act as adhesins and are able to protect against mortality, but not against tissue lesions. Moreover, AddaVax is a novel adjuvant with potential for improving the immunogenicity of leptospiral vaccines.
Keywords: AddaVax; Adjuvant; Erp Y-like; LemA; Leptospirosis; Vaccine.
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