Vaccination of chickens with the 34 kDa carboxy-terminus of Bpmp72 reduces colonization with Brachyspira pilosicoli following experimental infection

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-85
Journal / PublicationAvian Pathology
Issue number1
Online published8 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


The anaerobic intestinal spirochaete Brachyspira pilosicoli colonizes the large intestine of a variety of species of mammals and birds, and may result in colitis, diarrhoea and reductions in growth rate. Naturally occurring infections in chickens are largely confined to adult laying and breeding birds. In this study, the 34 kD carboxy-terminus of the prominent outer membrane protein Bmp72 of B. pilosicoli was expressed as a histidine-tagged recombinant protein and used to immunize two groups (B and C) of 15 individually housed layer chickens. Vaccination was with either 100 μg (B) or 1 mg (C) protein emulsified with Freund’s incomplete adjuvant delivered into the pectoral muscles, followed three weeks later by 1 mg of protein in phosphate buffered saline delivered via crop tube. Two weeks later these and 15 non-vaccinated positive control birds (group A) housed in the same room were challenged via crop tube with B. pilosicoli avian strain CPS1. B. pilosicoli was detected in the faeces of all control birds and in 14 of the vaccinated birds in each vaccinated group at some point over the 30-day period following challenge. Colonization was delayed and the duration of excretion was significantly reduced (P = 0.0001) in both groups of vaccinated birds compared to the non-vaccinated control birds. Fewer immunized birds had abnormal caecal contents at post mortem examination compared to non-vaccinated birds, but the difference was not statistically significant. This study indicates that recombinant Bmp72 C-terminus has potential to be developed for use as a vaccine component to provide protection against B. pilosicoli infections. 

• Laying chickens were immunized with recombinant Brachyspira pilosicoli membrane protein Bpmp72.
• Immunized birds had a highly significant reduction in the duration of colonization.
• Fewer immunized than control birds had abnormal caecal contents after infection.
• Bpmp72 showed potential for use as a novel vaccine component for B. pilosicoli.

Research Area(s)

  • Brachyspira pilosicoli, chickens, intestinal spirochaetosis, protection, recombinant vaccine, spirochaete

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