SUMMARY. The objective of the present study was to investigate the feasibility of a DNA vaccine and CpG oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) to protect chickens against infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) infection. Two plasmids DNA carrying VP2 genes of the very virulent (vv) strain of IBDV were constructed with reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and designated as pcDNA3.1-VP2 and pCI-VP2. The VP2 protein expressed in COS-7 cells transfected with the plasmid was confirmed by indirect immunofluorescence assay. Seven-day-old chickens were intramuscularly injected with the plasmids alone or plus commercial attenuated infectious bursal disease (IBD) vaccine or synthetic CpG ODN twice at weekly intervals. Chickens at 5 wk old were orally inoculated with vvIBDV strain 99J1 and observed for 7 days after challenge. Immunization with plasmid plus commercial attenuated IBD vaccine or CpG ODN conferred protection for 70%–80% of chickens, as evidenced by the absence of clinical signs, mortality, and atrophy in the cloacal bursa. About 25%–45% of chickens vaccinated with commercial attenuated IBD vaccine or pcDNA3.1-VP2 or pCI-VP2 plasmid alone had clinical signs and died after challenge. Furthermore, there were significantly different histopathologic lesion scores in the clocal bursae between the pcDNA3.1-VP2 or pCI-VP2 plus CpG or live vaccine and pcDNA3.1-VP2, pCI-VP2, or live vaccine vaccinated group. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay antibody titers in chickens vaccinated the constructs DNA plus live vaccine or CpG ODN were significantly higher than in those inoculated with the constructs or the live vaccine alone. These results suggest that coadministration of the constructed plasmid pcDNA3.1-VP2 or pCI-VP2 with CpG ODN or commercial attenuated IBD vaccine could protect chickens efficiently from direct vvIBDV challenge.
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Vol. 47 • No. 4