Open Access Open Badges Research article

Effect of adjuvants on the humoral immune response to congopain in mice and cattle

John Kateregga1*, George W Lubega1, Erik B Lindblad2, Edith Authié3, Theresa Helen Taillefer Coetzer4 and Alain François Vincent Boulangé456

Author affiliations

1 College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity, Makerere University, Box 7062, Kampala, Uganda

2 Brenntag Biosector, Elsenbakken 23, DK-3600, Frederikssund, Denmark

3 Risk Assessment Department, ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety), 27/31 Avenue du général Leclerc, 94701, Maisons-Alfort Cedex, France

4 School of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Private bag X01, Scottsville, 3209, South Africa

5 CIRAD, UMR INTERTRYP, Centro de Biotecnologia-UEM, 01009, Maputo, Mozambique

6 CIRAD, UMR INTERTRYP, F-34398, Montpellier, France

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Citation and License

BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:63  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-63

Published: 23 May 2012



We investigated several adjuvants for their effects on the humoral immune response in both mice and cattle using the central domain of congopain (C2), the major cysteine protease of Trypanosoma congolense, as a model for developing a vaccine against animal trypanosomosis. The magnitude and sustainability of the immune response against C2 and the occurrence of a booster effect of infection, an indirect measure of the presence of memory cells, were determined by ELISA, while spectrofluorometry was used to determine and measure the presence of enzyme-inhibiting antibodies.


Mice immunized with recombinant C2 in TiterMax™, Adjuphos™, purified saponin Quil A™ or Gerbu™ showed the best response according to the evaluation criteria and the latter three were chosen for the cattle vaccination study. The cattle were challenged with T. congolense four and a half months after the last booster. Cattle immunized with recombinant C2 in purified saponin Quil A™ showed the best antibody response according to the measured parameters.


We identified purified saponin Quil A™ as a good adjuvant for immunizations with C2. The results from this study will be useful in future attempts to develop an effective anti-disease vaccine against African trypanosomosis.