Immunological responses of Eurasian badgers (Meles meles) vaccinated with Mycobacterium bovis BCG (bacillus calmette guerin)

A. Southey, D. P.S. Sleeman, K. Lloyd, D. Dalley, M. A. Chambers, R. G. Hewinson, E. Gormley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (SciVal)


Wildlife species, such as the badger (Meles meles), may act as maintenance hosts for Mycobacterium bovis and contribute to the spread and persistence of tuberculosis in associated cattle populations. Targeted vaccination of badgers against tuberculosis is an option that, if successfully employed, could directly facilitate the advancement of bovine tuberculosis eradication in affected areas. In this study, the immunological responses of a group of badgers vaccinated subcutaneously with low doses of Mycobacterium bovis bacillus calmette guerin (BCG) were measured in vitro and compared with non-vaccinated control animals over a period of 42 weeks. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from badgers which had received repeated booster injections of BCG proliferated in response to culture with PPD-bovine (purified protein derivative of tuberculin). The proliferation was significantly greater than that seen in the non-vaccinated control group. In contrast, the proliferative response of PBMC from vaccinated badgers to PPD-avian declined relative to the control group. These results demonstrate that repeated vaccination of badgers with M. bovis BCG induced a population of T-lymphocytes responsive to specific antigens in PPD-bovine. Throughout the course of the study, the sera from all animals were tested (BrockTest) by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) system for the presence of antibodies to MPB83, a serodominant antigen whose expression is high in M. bovis, but very low in BCG (Pasteur). No animals at any stage showed seroconversion to the antigen, consistent with the tuberculosis-free status of the badgers under study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-207
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2001


  • Badger
  • CMI, cell-mediated immunity
  • Immunity
  • LTA, lymphocyte transformation assay
  • Meles meles
  • Mycobacterium bovis BCG
  • SI, stimulation index
  • Tuberculosis
  • Vaccine
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/veterinary
  • Mycobacterium bovis/immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes/immunology
  • Male
  • Vaccination/veterinary
  • Animals
  • Lymphocyte Activation/immunology
  • Female
  • Tuberculosis/immunology
  • BCG Vaccine/immunology
  • Carnivora/immunology
  • Antibodies, Bacterial/biosynthesis


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