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Cell Culture-Derived Tilapia Lake Virus-Inactivated Vaccine Containing Montanide Adjuvant Provides High Protection against Viral Challenge for Tilapia

Tilapia lake virus (TiLV) is a newly emerging pathogen responsible for high mortality and economic losses in the global tilapia industry. Currently, no antiviral therapy or vaccines are available for the control of this disease. The goal of the present study was to evaluate the immunological effects and protective efficacy of formaldehyde- and β-propiolactone-inactivated vaccines against TiLV in the presence and absence of the Montanide IMS 1312 VG adjuvant in tilapia. We found that β-propiolactone inactivation of viral particles generated a vaccine with a higher protection efficacy against virus challenge than did formaldehyde. The relative percent survivals of vaccinated fish at doses of 108, 107, and 106 50% tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50)/mL were 42.9%, 28.5%, and 14.3% in the absence of the adjuvant and 85.7%, 64.3%, and 32.1% in its presence, respectively. The vaccine generated specific IgM and neutralizing antibodies against TiLV at 3 weeks following immunization that were significantly increased after a second booster immunization. The steady state mRNA levels of the genes tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interferon γ (IFN-γ), cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4), major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-Ia, and MHC-II were all increased and indicated successful immune stimulation against TiLV. The vaccine also significantly lowered the viral loads and resulted in significant increases in survival, indicating that the vaccine may also inhibit viral proliferation as well as stimulate a protective antibody response. The β-propiolactone-inactivated TiLV vaccine coupled with the adjuvant Montanide IMS 1312 VG and booster immunizations can provide a high level of protection from virus challenge in tilapia.



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