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AMN045

2011 - 2015

Formulation and delivery of immunostimulatory oligodeoxynucleotides containing CpG motifs (CpG-ODN) with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) against poultry diseases

Principal Investigator: Susantha Gomis, University of Saskatchewan
Status: Completed

Objective

To protect commercial poultry from bacterial disease by stimulating the avian immune system with bacterial DNA molecules.

Background

Preventing disease in commercial poultry production can be approached with the use of various tools, including on-farm management and biosecurity practices, genetic selection, vaccination, and antimicrobial medications. However, each of these methods has some limitations. For example, biosecurity practices may not avoid all types of pathogens while vaccines do not provide the immediate protection that may be required during a disease outbreak. Furthermore, antimicrobials are facing scrutiny in regards to their use and levels of resistance in bacterial populations. Research being carried out by Dr. Susantha Gomis at the University of Saskatchewan has been tackling some of these concerns by using a different approach for preventing poultry disease. The research team is investigating ways to enhance the natural immune responses of birds. The avian immune system is capable of detecting specific DNA sequences that are contained in bacterial genes. Bacterial genomes contain particular DNA sequences (known as ‘CpG motifs’) and a bird’s immune system is capable of detecting them, enabling the system to recognise and differentiate bacterial DNA molecules from that of others. Dr. Gomis and his team have examined this aspect of the avian immune system in detail and have shown that, by producing synthetic molecules that mimic bacterial DNA sequences, an enhanced immune response can be achieved. This could dramatically improve the effectiveness of vaccines and help to provide long-term protection against many poultry diseases.

Outcomes

When injected into the egg during incubation, the molecules can protect chicks from future infections such as E. coli or Salmonella. However, the immunity seen during trials has been somewhat short-lived. The research team is investigating other commercially-applicable methods of delivering the synthetic molecules, which would allow them to survive in the body longer before degrading. The longer these molecules can remain, the longer a bird’s immune system has to generate a response to any invading pathogens so that an appropriate and long-lasting immune response can be attained.

Application

When injected into the egg during incubation, the molecules can protect chicks from future infections such as E. coli or Salmonella. However, the immunity seen during trials has been somewhat short-lived. The research team is investigating other commercially-applicable methods of delivering the synthetic molecules, which would allow them to survive in the body longer before degrading. The longer these molecules can remain, the longer a bird’s immune system has to generate a response to any invading pathogens so that an appropriate and long-lasting immune response can be attained.

Funding

$269,058 ($61,860 CPRC, $132,198 NSERC-CRD, $75,000 SCIDF)

Publications

Students find alternatives to antibiotics for chickens By Federica Giannelli

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