Antibody and Cytokine Responses of Koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) Vaccinated with Recombinant Chlamydial Major Outer Membrane Protein (MOMP) with Two Different Adjuvants

Developing a vaccine against Chlamydia is key to combating widespread mortalities and morbidities associated with this infection in koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus). In previous studies, we have shown that two or three doses of a Recombinant Major Outer Membrane Protein (rMOMP) antigen-based vaccine, combined with immune stimulating complex (ISC) adjuvant, results in strong cellular and humoral immune responses in koalas. We have also separately evaluated a single dose vaccine, utilising a tri-adjuvant formula that comprises polyphosphazine based poly I: C and host defense peptides, with the same antigen. This formulation also produced strong cellular and humoral immune responses in captive koalas. In this current study, we directly compared the host immune responses of two sub-groups of wild Chlamydia negative koalas in one population vaccinated with the rMOMP protein antigen and adjuvanted with either the ISC or tri-adjuvant formula. Overall, both adjuvants produced
strong Chlamydia-specific cellular (IFN-γ and IL-17A) responses in circulating PBMCs as well as MOMP-specific and functional, in vitro neutralising antibodies. While the immune responses were similar, there were adjuvant-specific immune differences between the two adjuvants, particularly in relation to the specificity of the MOMP epitope antibody responses.

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