Oral DNA vaccines based on CS-TPP nanoparticles and alginate microparticles confer high protection against infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) infection in trout

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Infectious pancreatic necrosis virus (IPNV) is the etiological agent of a contagious viral disease causing remarkable mortalities in different fish species. Despite the availability of commercial vaccines against IPN, the disease still constitutes one of the main threats to the aquaculture industry worldwide. In this study, we developed a DNA vaccine encoding the VP2 gene of IPNV and evaluated its ability to induce protective immunity in rainbow trout fry (3 g) at doses of 10 and 25 μg/fish and boosting with the same doses two weeks later through the oral route using chitosan/tripolyphosphate (CS-TPP) nanoparticles and alginate microparticles incorporated into fish feed. The distribution of the administered vaccines in different organs and transcription of VP2 gene were confirmed by RT-PCR assay at day 30 post boost-vaccination. Transcript levels of IFN-1, Mx-1, IgM, IgT and CD4 genes was dependent on vaccine dose and was significantly up-regulated in head kidney of all orally vaccinated fish groups compared to controls (pcDNA3.1). Cumulative mortalities post-challenge with virulent isolate of the virus were lower in the vaccinated fish and a relative percentage survival (RPS) of 59% and 82% were obtained for the 10 and 25 μg/fish pcDNA3.1-VP2 groups, respectively. Vaccination with the same amount of pcDNA3.1-VP2 encapsulated with CS-TPP nanoparticles resulted in RPS of 47 %and 70%, respectively. Detectable anti-IPNV antibodies were shown until 90 days postvaccination. The orally administrated vaccines significantly decreased VP4 transcripts thus contributing to reducing viral load in surviving fish on day 45 post-challenge. In conclusion, these results show good to high protection post-vaccination alongside with significant up-regulation of key immune genes and detectable levels of circulating antibodies after oral administration of the DNA vaccine formulated in CS-TPP nanoparticles and alginate microparticles in fish feed.

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