Assessment of Live Attenuated Vaccines against Enteric Septicemia of Channel Catfish
Ibrahim, Iman Abdelwahab Ahmed
CommitteeLawrence, Mark L.
Pinchuk, Lesya M.
Edwardsiella ictaluri causes enteric septicemia of catfish (ESC), one of the most important bacterial diseases of farmed channel catfish in the USA. Use of live attenuated vaccines (LAVs) is an effective strategy for combating mortalities in catfish farms. Our research group has developed three live attenuated E. ictaluri strains [EiΔevpB, EiΔgcvPΔsdhCΔfrdA (ESC-NDKL1), and EiΔhemRΔfrdAΔsdhC (triple-hemR)] that provide various levels of protection against ESC. However, the protective mechanisms of these vaccine candidates are mostly unknown. The overall objective of my study was to investigate protective mechanisms of these LAVs. To accomplish this, catfish fry were immersion challenged with EiΔevpB, ESC-NDKL1, and triple-hemR. Additional catfish fry were immersion challenged with Aquavac-ESC and E. ictaluri wild-type (EiWT) as controls. The internalization of antigens through the mucosal surfaces as well as the pathology and molecular immune responses were studied. The investigations showed that EiΔevpB and ESC-NDKL1 were highly safe and efficacious compared to Aquavac-ESC and EiWT. Pathologically, vaccination with EiΔevpB and ESC-NDKL1 decreased the pathological lesions, EiWT replication in catfish, and increased the ability of the immune system to resist and kill EiWT. On the other hand, triple-hemR was not safe causing severe tissue damage similar to EiWT. The gene expression data showed significantly high expression of innate and adaptive immune genes following vaccination and challenge with EiWT. Additionally, EiΔevpB and ESC-NDKL1 induced immune proliferation in pronephros after exposure to EiWT. Taken together, EiΔevpB and ESC-NDKL1 vaccine strains performed better to induce immune responses and reduce damage in the host tissues during EiWT challenge compared to Aquavac-ESC.