Guarneri, F.; Tonni, M.; Sarli, G.; Boniotti, M.B.; Lelli, D.; Barbieri, I.; D’Annunzio, G.; Alborali, G.L.; Bacci, B.; Amadori, M. Non-Assembled ORF2 Capsid Protein of Porcine Circovirus 2b Does Not Confer Protective Immunity. Pathogens2021, 10, 1161.
Guarneri, F.; Tonni, M.; Sarli, G.; Boniotti, M.B.; Lelli, D.; Barbieri, I.; D’Annunzio, G.; Alborali, G.L.; Bacci, B.; Amadori, M. Non-Assembled ORF2 Capsid Protein of Porcine Circovirus 2b Does Not Confer Protective Immunity. Pathogens 2021, 10, 1161.
Porcine Circovirus 2 (PCV2) vaccines are based on either inactivated whole virion, or recombinant ORF2 capsid protein assembled into Virus-like Particles (VLPs). No data are available instead about the immunizing properties of free, non-assembled capsid protein. To investigate this issue, ORF2 of a reference PCV2b strain was expressed in a Baculovirus-based expression system without assembly into VLPs. The free purified protein was formulated into an oil vaccine at three distinct Ag payloads: 10.8 / 3.6 / 1.2 micrograms /dose. Each dose was injected intramuscularly into five, 37-day old piglets, carefully matched for maternally-derived antibody. Five control piglets were injected with sterile PBS in oil adjuvant. Twenty-eight days later, all the pigs were challenged intranasally with 200,000 TCID50 of PCV2b strain DV6503. After challenge infection, all the pigs remained in good clinical conditions. The recombinant vaccine did not induce significant antibody and PCV2-specific IFN-gamma responses. ELISPOT and lymphocyte proliferation data confirmed poor induction of cell-mediated immunity. In terms of PCV2 viremia, there was no significant difference between vaccinated and control animals. The histological data indicated the absence of a detectable viral load and of PCVAD lesions in both vaccinated and control animals, as well as of histiocytes and multi-nucleated giant cells. We conclude that free, non-assembled ORF2 capsid protein does not induce protective immunity.
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