Humoral and cell-mediated immune responses of old horses following recombinant canarypox virus vaccination and subsequent challenge infection

Amanda A. Adams, Tracy L. Sturgill, Cormac C. Breathnach, Thomas M. Chambers, Leonardo Siger, Jules M. Minke, David W. Horohov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Equine influenza virus is a leading cause of respiratory disease in the horse population; however, the susceptibility of old horses to EIV infection remains unknown. While advanced age in horses (>20 years) is associated with age-related changes in immune function, there are no specific recommendations regarding the vaccination of older horses even though a well-characterized effect of aging is a reduced antibody response to standard vaccination. Therefore, we evaluated the immunological and physiological response of aged horses to a live non-replicating canarypox-vectored EIV vaccine and subsequent challenge infection. Vaccination of the aged horses induced EIV-specific IgGb and HI antibodies. No specific increase in cell-mediated immune (CMI) response was induced by the vaccine as determined by EIV-specific lymphoproliferation and the detection of EIV-specific IFNγ+ CD5+T cells, IFNγ, IL-2, IL-4 and IL-13 mRNA expression. Non-vaccinated aged horses exhibited clinical signs of the disease (coughing, nasal discharge, dyspnea, depression, anorexia) as well as increased rectal temperature and viral shedding following challenge. Concomitant with the febrile episodes, we also observed increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA production in vivo using RT-PCR. Naïve horses were included in this study for vaccine and challenge controls only. As expected, the canarypox-vectored EIV vaccine stimulated significant CMI and humoral immune responses and provided significant protection against clinical signs of disease and reduced virus shedding in naive horses. Here, we show that aged horses remain susceptible to infection with equine influenza virus despite the presence of circulating antibodies and CMI responses to EIV and vaccination with a canarypox-vectored EIV vaccine provides protection from clinical disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-140
Number of pages13
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number2-4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2011


  • Aging
  • Equine influenza virus
  • Immunosenescence
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • General Veterinary


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