Assessment of the cross-protective capability of recombinant capsid proteins derived from pig, rat, and avian hepatitis E viruses (HEV) against challenge with a genotype 3 HEV in pigs

Brenton J Sanford, Tanja Opriessnig, Scott P Kenney, Barbara A Dryman, Laura Córdoba, Xiang-Jin Meng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV), the causative agent of hepatitis E, is primarily transmitted via the fecal-oral route through contaminated water supplies, although many sporadic cases of hepatitis E are transmitted zoonotically via direct contact with infected animals or consumption of contaminated animal meats. Genotypes 3 and 4 HEV are zoonotic and infect humans and other animal species, whereas genotypes 1 and 2 HEV are restricted to humans. There exists a single serotype of HEV, although the cross-protective ability among the animal HEV strains is unknown. Thus, in this study we expressed and characterized N-terminal truncated ORF2 capsid antigens derived from swine, rat, and avian HEV strains and evaluated their cross-protective ability in a pig challenge model. Thirty, specific-pathogen-free, pigs were divided into 5 groups of 6 pigs each, and each group of pigs were vaccinated with 200 μg of swine HEV, rat HEV, or avian HEV ORF2 antigen or PBS buffer (2 groups) as positive and negative control groups. After a booster dose immunization at 2 weeks post-vaccination, the vaccinated animals all seroconverted to IgG anti-HEV. At 4 weeks post-vaccination, the animals were intravenously challenged with a genotype 3 mammalian HEV, and necropsied at 4 weeks post-challenge. Viremia, fecal virus shedding, and liver histological lesions were compared to assess the protective and cross-protective abilities of these antigens against HEV challenge in pigs. The results indicated that pigs vaccinated with truncated recombinant capsid antigens derived from three animal strains of HEV induced a strong IgG anti-HEV response in vaccinated pigs, but these antigens confer only partial cross-protection against a genotype 3 mammalian HEV. The results have important implications for the efficacy of current vaccines and for future vaccine development, especially against the novel zoonotic animal strains of HEV.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6249-55
Number of pages7
JournalVaccine
Volume30
Issue number44
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2012

Keywords

  • Animals
  • Birds
  • Capsid Proteins
  • Cross Protection
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Feces
  • Genotype
  • Hepatitis Antibodies
  • Hepatitis E
  • Hepatitis E virus
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Liver
  • Rats
  • Swine
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines, Synthetic
  • Viral Hepatitis Vaccines
  • Viremia
  • Virus Shedding

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