A new rabbit-skin model to evaluate protective efficacy of tuberculosis vaccines

Huiyu Chen, Xun Liu, Xingming Ma, Qian Wang, Guang Yang, Hongxia Niu, Shuaixiang Li, Bingzheng He, Shanshan He, Arthur M. Dannenberg, Bingdong Zhu, Ying Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: BCG protection is suboptimal and there is significant interest to develop new tuberculosis (TB) vaccines. However, there are significant limitations of the current vaccine evaluation systems in the mouse model. Here, we developed a BCG-challenge rabbit skin model as a new way to evaluate the protective efficacy of selected TB subunit vaccine candidates. Methods: Rabbits were immunized with subunit vaccines, including EAMM (ESAT6-Ag85B-MPT64<190-198>-Mtb8.4), MH (Mtb10.4-HspX), and LT70 (ESAT6-Ag85B-MPT64<190-198>-Mtb8.4-Rv2626c) three times subcutaneously every 3-weeks and challenged with the attenuated Mycobacterium bovis BCG intradermally 6-weeks after last immunization. The immune response induced by the vaccine candidates was measured, the histopathology induced by the BCG challenge was studied, and the number of bacilli in the liquefied caseum was determined. Results: The subunit vaccines generated high antigen-specific IgG antibodies and fastened the liquefaction and healing process, and significantly reduced the viable BCG load. The subunit vaccine LT70 and EAMM-MH reduced BCG bacterial load in comparison to proteins EAMM, MH, Rv2626c, and also BCG itself. The Koch phenomena induced by the LT70 and combination of EAMM-MH were the same as that produced by BCG itself and were more rapid than those induced by the other proteins and the saline controls. Conclusions: The subunit vaccines LT70 and the combination of EAMM-MH showed promising protective efficacy as expected in the rabbit skin model, which can serve as a visual and convenient new model for evaluating TB vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number842
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - May 17 2017


  • BCG
  • Pathology
  • Rabbit skin model
  • Subunit vaccine
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'A new rabbit-skin model to evaluate protective efficacy of tuberculosis vaccines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this