Cellular immune responses in cetaceans immunized with a porcine erysipelas vaccine

Tatjana Sitt, Lizabeth Bowen, Myra Blanchard, Laurel J Gershwin, Barbara A Byrne, Christopher Dold, Jim McBain, Jeffrey L Stott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Clinical erysipelas represents a significant health problem in managed cetacean species. Vaccination was suspended in many oceanariums in the past due to losses associated with vaccine-induced hypersensitivities which were deemed to be a greater threat than clinical erysipelas. A perceived shift in clinical presentation of erysipelas from a chronic dermatologic form to an acute systemic form in dolphins sparked interest in re-initiating vaccination with improved subunit vaccines of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae. This manuscript describes the development and application of in vitro correlates of immunity (TH1, TH2 and TREG) in Tursiops truncatus induced by immunization with a commercial porcine 65kDa subunit E. rhusiopathiae vaccine. Variable degrees of pre-existing T cell memory were identified prior to vaccination. Vaccine-induced IFNγ responses were consistent with a TH1 response and associated with elimination of erysipelas in all vaccinated animals. Comparative analysis between six-month and 12-month vaccination booster regimes demonstrated maintenance of superior memory in the six-month group; however, anamnestic responses induced by booster were only identified in the 12-month group. To our knowledge, this is the first study to develop and apply advanced immunologic analyses for assessing vaccine efficacy in captive or free-ranging wildlife.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-189
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Cytokine
  • Dolphin
  • Erysipelas
  • Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae
  • Real-time PCR
  • Tursiops truncatus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)


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