Submitted to: American Association of Immunologists Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2004
Publication Date: N/A
Short oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) containing unmethylated CpG motifs (CpG ODNs) have been recently shown to be effective immunoprotective agents in domestic animals. Their use in poultry to protect against intracellular parasites has not been documented to date. The present work investigated the effects of CpG ODN treatment on host susceptibility to Eimeria infection in chickens. In ovo and in vivo studies were conducted using 18-day-old SPF embryos and birds of multiple ages, respectively. ODNs with different CpG motifs were applied at different doses followed by Eimeria inoculation. The data showed that in vivo CpG treatment enhanced the birds' resistance to coccidiosis in a normally susceptible chicken strain, as shown by reduced oocyst shedding and improved weight gain associated with Eimeria acervulina infection. Two CpG ODNs tested in ovo significantly reduced oocyst shedding while exhibiting a differential antibody response. This work shows for the first time that CpG ODNs can be used as immunoprotective agents in Eimeria-infected chickens to boost resistance to the pathogen and improve performance. Future research is needed to optimize their use alone and as vaccine adjuvants leading to practical application in the poultry industry and reducing the economic impact of poultry coccidiosis.