Development of novel vaccine for newborns against Lawsonia intracellularis (Ileitis)

Fluorescent confocal microscopy of McCoy cells sorted for CFSE positive signal (green indicating Lawsonia intracellularis). McCoy cells are stained with PKH26 (red) and DAPI (blue) to indicate cellular proliferation and nuclear region, respectively. Image by M. Obradovic and H.L. Wilson; Obradovic, et. al. (2016), J Microbiol Methods 126: 60-66.

Project Team: Heather L. Wilson, Kezia Fourie, Haoming Liu, Zahed Khatooni, Siew Hon Ng

Lawsonia intracellularis is the causative bacterial agent of Ileitis/porcine proliferative enteropathy. It is responsible for an estimated economic loss of $51.6 million to the North American pig industry due to decreased average daily gain, poor feed efficiency, mortality, and increased days to market. Our research aims at developing a more effective vaccine for piglets that induces longer lasting immunity, reduces bacterial shedding, and is effective in the presence of maternal antibodies. Such a vaccine will prevent loss of piglet growth from gut wall lesions, decrease herd mortality, and reduce pathogen shedding and most importantly reduce the use of antibiotics in swine, which will significantly benefit producers around the globe.

We are focused on using a combined functional approach and extensive bioinformatic analysis to B and T cell epitopes on Lawsonia intracellularis proteins for use in vaccine development. Multiple vaccine formulations, adjuvants, and routes of immunization are being employed to optimize the immune response to the Lawsonia antigens and to provide protective immunity against infectious disease.