The testing of antibodies raised against poultry red mite antigens in an in vitro feeding assay; preliminary screen for vaccine candidates

Harry W. Wright*, Kathryn Bartley, Alasdair J. Nisbet, Regina M. McDevitt, Nick Sparks, Sarah Brocklehurst, John F. Huntley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer), the poultry red mite, is a blood-feeding ectoparasite that infests many bird species. We have used an in vitro feeding assay to allow the identification of protective D. gallinae antigens that may have potential as vaccine candidates. Homogenised mites were extracted sequentially with PBS, Tween 20, Triton X100 and urea giving four protein fractions. Five experimental groups of Lohmann Brown hens were used to generate antibodies; four groups were injected with one of each of the protein fractions in QuilA adjuvant and a control group was injected with adjuvant only. Booster injections were administered 2 and 4 weeks after initial immunisation. Eggs were collected throughout the experiment and soluble IgY antibodies were extracted from a pool of egg yolks collected at week six post-injection. Western blots, performed using post vaccination antibodies from test and control groups, revealed a strong antibody response against a range of injected proteins. Fresh chicken blood, supplemented with antibodies raised against these protein fractions, was fed to mites in an in vitro feeding assay in order to determine whether the antibodies had an anti-mite effect. Although there was variability in the numbers of feeding mites, it was found that the strongest anti-mite effect was seen with the PBS protein fraction, which had a cumulative average mortality of 34.8% 14 days after feeding compared with 27.3% for the control group (P = 0.043).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-91
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and Applied Acarology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


  • Dermanyssus gallinae
  • Poultry red mite
  • Vaccine
  • Protective antigens

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