The H9N2 avian influenza virus (AIV) has become increasingly concerning due to its role in severe economic losses in the poultry industry. Transmission of AIV to mammals, including pigs and humans, has accelerated efforts to devise preventive strategies. To develop an effective oral vaccine against H9N2 AIV, a recombinant Lactobacillus plantarum NC8 strain expressing the hemagglutinin (HA) gene of H9N2 AIV was constructed in this study. Mice were orally immunized with the recombinant NC8-pSIP409-HA strain, and sIgA, IgG and HI antibodies were produced by the NC8-pSIP409-HA strain, which also induced CD8(+) T cell immune responses. Most importantly, oral administration produced complete protection against challenge with mouse-adapted H9N2 virus. These results indicate that the recombinant NC8-pSIP409-HA was more effective at inducing the mucosal, humoral and cellular immune responses. Therefore, L. plantarum NC8-pSIP409-HA could become a promising oral vaccine candidate against H9N2 AIV.
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