Open Access Research article

Enhancement of Th1-biased protective immunity against avian influenza H9N2 virus via oral co-administration of attenuated Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium expressing chicken interferon-α and interleukin-18 along with an inactivated vaccine

Md Masudur Rahman1, Erdenebileg Uyangaa1, Young Woo Han1, Seong Bum Kim1, Jin Hyoung Kim2, Jin Young Choi1 and Seong Kug Eo1*

Author affiliations

1 College of Veterinary Medicine and Bio-Safety Research Institute, Jeonju, 561-756, Republic of Korea

2 Department of Biology, College of Natural Science, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju, 561-756, Republic of Korea

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Citation and License

BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:105  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-105

Published: 9 July 2012



Control of currently circulating re-assorted low-pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) H9N2 is a major concern for both animal and human health. Thus, an improved LPAI H9N2 vaccination strategy is needed to induce complete immunity in chickens against LPAI H9N2 virus strains. Cytokines play a crucial role in mounting both the type and extent of an immune response generated following infection with a pathogen or after vaccination. To improve the efficacy of inactivated LPAI H9N2 vaccine, attenuated Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium was used for oral co-administration of chicken interferon-α (chIFN-α) and chicken interleukin-18 (chIL-18) as natural immunomodulators.


Oral co-administration of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium expressing chIFN-α and chIL-18, prior to vaccination with inactivated AI H9N2 vaccine, modulated the immune response of chickens against the vaccine antigen through enhanced humoral and Th1-biased cell-mediated immunity, compared to chickens that received single administration of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium expressing either chIFN-α or chIL-18. To further test the protective efficacy of this improved vaccination regimen, immunized chickens were intra-tracheally challenged with a high dose of LPAI H9N2 virus. Combined administration of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium expressing chIFN-α and chIL-18 showed markedly enhanced protection compared to single administration of the construct, as determined by mortality, clinical severity, and feed and water intake. This enhancement of protective immunity was further confirmed by reduced rectal shedding and replication of AIV H9N2 in different tissues of challenged chickens.


Our results indicate the value of combined administration of chIFN-α and chIL-18 using a Salmonella vaccine strain to generate an effective immunization strategy in chickens against LPAI H9N2.

Attenuated Salmonella vaccine; Chicken interferon-α; Chicken interleukin-18; Avian influenza H9N2; Oral delivery