Detection of live M. bovis BCG in tissues and IFN-γresponses in European badgers (Meles meles) vaccinated by oropharyngeal instillation or directly in the ileum

Sandrine Lesellier*, Maria Laura Boschiroli, Jacques Barrat, Christoph Wanke, Francisco Javier Salguero Bodes, Waldo L. Garcia-Jimenez, Alex Nunez, Ana Godinho, John Spiropoulos, Simonette Palmer, Dipesh Dave, Paul Anderson, Jean Marc Boucher, Krystel De Cruz, Sylvie Henault, Lorraine Michelet, Sonya Gowtage, Gareth A. Williams, Allan K. Nadian, Elodie Monchâtre-LeroyFrank Boué, Mark A. Chambers, Céline Richomme

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Oral vaccination with Mycobacterium bovis Bacille of Calmette and Guerin (BCG) has provided protection against M. bovis to badgers both experimentally and in the field. There is also evidence suggesting that the persistence of live BCG within the host is important for maintaining protection against TB. Here we investigated the capacity of badger inductive mucosal sites to absorb and maintain live BCG. The targeted mucosae were the oropharyngeal cavity (tonsils and sublingual area) and the small intestine (ileum). Results: We showed that significant quantities of live BCG persisted within badger in tissues of vaccinated badgers for at least 8 weeks following oral vaccination with only very mild pathological features and induced the circulation of IFNγ-producing mononuclear cells. The uptake of live BCG by tonsils and drainage to retro-pharyngeal lymph nodes was repeatable in the animal group vaccinated by oropharyngeal instillation whereas those vaccinated directly in the ileum displayed a lower frequency of BCG detection in the enteric wall or draining mesenteric lymph nodes. No faecal excretion of live BCG was observed, including when BCG was delivered directly in the ileum. Conclusions: The apparent local loss of BCG viability suggests an unfavorable gastro-enteric environment for BCG in badgers, which should be taken in consideration when developing an oral vaccine for use in this species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number445
JournalBMC Veterinary Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, UK)

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s).

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • BCG
  • Badger
  • Capsule
  • Lymphatic drainage
  • Mucosa
  • Tonsil
  • Vaccine


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