In the current study, cross-protective immunity induced by a well-defined clonal strain of Histomonas meleagridis, attenuated by prolonged in vitro cultivation against different clonal heterologous isolates of the same parasite was investigated. For this purpose, 86 turkey poults were assigned to groups consisting of 9-10 birds. Birds of four groups were vaccinated on their 1st day of life followed by re-vaccination on their 14th day of life when the remaining turkeys were left untreated. The challenge was performed using four strains of H. meleagridis that were isolated from chickens or turkeys from different outbreaks of histomonosis in Europe and three of them showed diversities in their genome. Hence, every strain used for the challenge was applied to a group of vaccinated and a group of non-vaccinated birds while birds of the negative control group were sham inoculated. Non-vaccinated birds suffered from severe histomonosis due to the challenge with fatalities reaching from 5 to 10 turkeys per group. Vaccinated birds did not contract clinical signs of the disease following challenge and the increase in weight was unaffected compared to birds of the negative control group. A significant difference in lesion scores was recorded between vaccinated and non-vaccinated groups, with very few instances of liver involvement in the former groups. Livers of vaccinated birds that were without recordable macroscopic lesions were also found negative by immunohistochemical investigation. According to the data obtained, the present study demonstrates, for the first time, the cross-protective capability of a tentative vaccine strain of H. meleagridis attenuated in vitro against heterologous virulent isolates of different origin.
Animals Body Weight Cecumpathologyvirology Chickensvirology Cross Protection Europe Liverpathologyvirology Poultry Diseasesparasitologyprevention & control Protozoan Infections, Animalparasitologyprevention & control Protozoan Vaccinesimmunology Trichomonadidageneticsimmunologyisolation & purificationpathogenicity Turkeysvirology Vaccinationveterinary Vaccines, Attenuated Virulence