Author(s): Eisenberg GH Jr, Osterman JV
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Abstract Scrub typhus immunogens were prepared by exposing infected yolk sac suspensions of Rickettsia tsutsugamushi to various doses of gamma radiation. Mouse lethality was abolished at doses greater than 200 krads, whereas immunogenicity of the suspensions, as shown by mouse protection tests, was diminished relatively little by radiation doses in the 200- to 400-krad range. Using a 300-krad gamma dose to provide a safety factor, immunogens were prepared and their protective capacity was contrasted with formalinized scrub typhus immunogens prepared by conventional techniques. Formalinized suspensions afforded mice only partial protection against intraperitoneal challenge with 1,000 50\% mouse lethal doses of the virulent homologous strain and no significant protection against similar challenge with an equally virulent heterologous strain. Using the same strains, radiation-inactivated preparations provided 100\% protection against 10,000 50\% mouse lethal doses of the homologous strain and 70\% protection against challenge with the same doses of a heterologous strain. Neither immunogen was a potent stimulator of antibody production as measured by the complement-fixation test. Cell-transfer studies using inbred mice indicated a role for cell-mediated immunity after vaccination with gamma-irradiated immunogens, but no cell-mediated protection could be demonstrated after vaccination with formalin-inactivated rickettsiae.
This article was published in Infect Immun
and referenced in Journal of Vaccines & Vaccination