Intramammary infections in cattle resulting in mastitis have detrimental effects on cows' well-being, lifespan and milk production. In the host defense against S. aureus mastitis antibodies are thought to play an important role. To explore potential ways to increase antibody titers in the bovine mammary gland the effects of various adjuvants on the magnitude, isotype, and neutralizing capacity of antibodies produced following subcutaneous vaccine administration at different immunization sites were analyzed. In this study, α-toxoid was used as a model antigen and formulated in three different alum-based adjuvants: Alum-Saponin, Alum-Oil, and Alum-Saponin-Oil. Vaccines were administered near the suspensory ligament of the udder or in the lateral triangular area of the neck. At both immunization sites, immunization with α-toxoid in Alum-Saponin-Oil resulted in higher specific antibody titers in milk and serum as compared with Alum-Oil and Alum-Saponin, without favoring an IgG1, IgG2, or IgA response. Furthermore, the neutralizing capacity of milk serum and serum following immunization near the udder and in the neck was higher when Alum-Saponin-Oil was used as adjuvant compared with Alum-Oil and Alum-Saponin. Prime immunizations near the udder effectively increased both antibody isotype titers and neutralization titers, while prime plus boost immunizations were required to induce similar effects following immunization in the neck. Results indicate that subcutaneous administration of an Alum-Saponin-Oil based vaccine near the udder could be further explored for the development of a one-shot vaccination strategy to efficiently increase intramammary antibody responses.
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