Chickens were immunised with a preparation of purified 14-kDa fimbriae of serotype Enteritidis (SEF 14) to raise egg-yolk antibodies for protection trials in mice against subsequent challenge-exposure with the homologous strain of Enteritidis. A pronounced specificity of egg-yolk antibodies against the 14-kDa fimbrial antigen was demonstrated by Western blotting analysis. Passive antibody protection was evaluated in a mouse model of experimental salmonellosis: 79 mice (CD 1 strain) were challenged orally with 2 × 10 cfu of Enteritidis. Test mice treated with SEF-14 antibodies (titre = 128) had a survival rate of 77.8% compared to 32% survival in control mice fed normal egg-yolk antibodies (titre < 10) (p < 0.01). In-vitro adhesion of Enteritidis to mouse intestinal epithelial cells was reduced by anti-fimbrial antibodies. An indirect immunofluorescence method demonstrated the localisation of Enteritidis along the villous margins of the small intestine of control mice, whereas in test mice adherent bacteria were not detected. Results suggest that 14-kDa fimbriae may influence, enhance or contribute to the overall adhesive properties of Enteritidis and that egg-yolk antibodies directed against these fimbriae may have played a substantial role in protection, possibly by minimising bacterial colonisation and invasion during the early stages of infection.


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