Attenuated Mycoplasma bovis strains provide protection against virulent infection in calves.

PMID 24462404


Mycoplasma bovis is a major etiological agent of pneumonia and arthritis in feedlot beef cattle. To develop a novel live vaccine against M. bovis, two attenuated M. bovis strains, P150 and P180, were tested in calves for protection against challenge with the virulent M. bovis parental strain. Twenty calves were divided into four groups of five calves each that were designated as the P150, P180, positive control (PC), and negative control (NC) groups. Each calf in the P150 and P180 groups was immunized with 10(9)CFU of P150 or P180, respectively, via the nasal cavity, and the PC and NC groups received the mock inoculation. Baseline data were collected for 46 days post-immunization. The clinical signs were scored, and rectal temperatures and daily weight gain were recorded. The blood leukocyte count, the neutrophil ratio, and the serum levels of IgG, IgA, IFN-β, and TNF-α were quantified using laboratory tests, and the nasal shedding was evaluated using microbiological methods. The P150, P180, and PC calves were challenged with a dose of 10(10)CFU of virulent M. bovis by intratracheal injection on 3 consecutive days. The calves were monitored for 25 days post-challenge to observe changes in the baseline parameters. On day 25 post-challenge the calves were euthanized for necropsy and analysis of tissue samples. The P150 and P180 immunizations caused no clinical abnormality, and did not affect daily weight gain. The post-inoculation neutrophil ratio and serum levels of IgG and IFN-β significantly increased in the P150, P180, and PC calves, whereas the serum levels of IgA and TNF-α did not. After challenge, the PC group developed the typical clinical signs and pathology associated with M. Bovis infection, whereas immunization with P150 or P180 provided efficacious protection. Based on the scores for gross pathology and lung pathology, the protection rates of the P150 and P180 immunizations were 87.7% and 70.8%, respectively. The P150 attenuated strain is a promising candidate for a live vaccine against M. bovis infection in cattle.