Veterinary Immunology And Immunopathology
Although enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) infections are important causes of infantile and traveler's diarrhea there is no licensed vaccine available for those at-risk. Our goal is to develop a safe, live attenuated ETEC vaccine. We used an attenuated E. coli strain (O157:H7, -intimin, Stx1-neg, Stx2-neg) as a vector (ZCR533) to prepare two vaccine strains, one strain expressing colonization factor antigen I (ZCR533-CFA/I) and one strain expressing CFA/I and a detoxified heat-labile enterotoxin (ZCR533-CFA/I+LThK63) to deliver ETEC antigens to mucosal sites in BALB/c mice. Following intranasal and intragastric immunization with the vaccine strains, serum IgG and IgA antibodies were measured to the CFA/I antigen, however, only serum IgG antibodies were detected to the heat-labile enterotoxin. Intranasal administration of the vaccine strains induced respiratory and intestinal antibody responses to the CFA/I and LT antigens, while intragastric administration induced only intestinal antibody responses with no respiratory antibodies detected to the CFA/I and LT antigens. Mice immunized intranasally with the vaccine strains showed enhanced clearance of wild-type (wt) ETEC bacteria from the lungs. Mice immunized intranasally and intragastrically with the vaccine strains were protected from intestinal colonization following oral challenge with ETEC wt bacteria. Mice immunized intragastrically with the ZCR533-CFA/I+LThK63 vaccine strain had less fluid accumulate in their intestine following challenge with ETEC wt bacteria or with purified LT as compared to the sham mice indicating that the immunized mice were protected from LT-induced intestinal fluid accumulation. Thus, mice intragastrically immunized with the ZCR533-CFA/I+LThK63 vaccine strain were able to effectively neutralize the activity of the LT enterotoxin. However, no difference in intestinal fluid accumulation was detected in the mice immunized intranasally with the vaccine strain as compared to the sham mice as the immunized mice induced insufficient intestinal anti-LT antibody to neutralize the activity of the enterotoxin. These results show that our ETEC vaccine induced serum and mucosal antibody responses to CFA/I and LT after mucosal administration which then acted to protect the immunized mice against lung and intestinal colonization, as well as, intestinal fluid accumulation.