Maternal transfer of neutralizing antibodies to B. burgdorferi OspA after oral vaccination of the rodent reservoir.


Lyme Disease presents unique challenges for public health. Transfer of protective antibodies between mothers and offspring should occur after vaccination of mice. We present new evidence for maternal transfer of oral vaccine induced neutralizing anti-OspA IgG antibodies to mouse pups mainly through ingestion of colostrum. We found a strong statistical correlation of antibody transfer between mothers that produced the most robust IgG response to OspA and their respective pups. OspA-specific antibody was detected as early as 24 h after birth and protective levels of antibodies lasted until ~5 weeks of age in the majority of pups but persisted in some mice until 9 weeks. This was further supported by detection of neutralizing antibodies in serum of all pups at 2-3 weeks after birth and in some offspring adult mice at 9 weeks of age. A clear association was found between robust antibody responses in mothers and the length of time antibody persisted in the respective pups using a novel longitudinal Bayesian model. These factors are likely to impact the enzootic cycle of B. burgdorferi if reservoir targeted OspA-based vaccination interventions are implemented.

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