Adjuvant effect of recombinant interleukin-12 in the Nocardiosis formalin-killed vaccine of the amberjackSeriola dumerili

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Nocardiosis causes serious economic damage in the fish farming of Japanese yellowtail fish. Nocardia seriolae identified as pathogenic bacterium is an intracellular-pathogen. In general, induction of cell-mediated immunity (CMI) is effective in infection defense against intracellular-pathogen. However, the conventional formalin-killed N. seriolae (FKC) vaccine induces humoral immunity. Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is Th1 type heterodimeric cytokine and induces cell differentiation in mammals. Our previous study showed that recombinant amberjack IL-12 has a role in CMI induction in vitro and could be a possible CMI inducing adjuvant. However, its adjuvant effect of fish IL-12 was not studied. In the present study, six types of amberjack recombinant IL-12 (rIL-12) were mixed and injected into amberjack with FKC. Firstly, we analyzed Th1- and Th2- related gene expression and monitored Th1/Th2 status followed by investigation of antibody titer. As a result, Th1-type immunity was induced in FKC + rIL-12 vaccinated fish. Secondly, we checked Th1/Th2 status of vaccinated fish after 10 days of N. seriolae infection using the expression of related genes. High T-bet/GATA-3 ratio was observed in FKC + rIL-12 vaccinated fish, suggesting that Th1 cells possesing antigen memory were induced against N. seriolae infection. Finally, the survival rate in challenge test showed that 88% of FKC + rIL-12 vaccinated fish was survived at 34 days after N. seriolae injection whereas PBS (control) and FKC only were exterminated. These result suggest that i) rIL-12 is viable CMI inducible adjuvant and ii) production of Th1 cells having antigen memory resulting from activation of IL-12 signaling pathway is important for defense against N. seriolae infection.

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