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Last update: May 2021

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Relation between intestinal microbiota composition and influenza A virus vaccination response in pigs

A study led by the Genetics, Microbiota, Health team of GABI shows that in pigs, a relation exists between the intestinal microbiota composition and the immune response to a vaccine against the influenza A virus (IAV) in pigs. The intestinal microbiota before vaccination has both high and low responders to vaccination and contains predictive information about these levels of response. A higher level of some bacteria genera was found to be associated with a better immune response to the vaccine.

Individual variability of vaccine response can weaken the level of protection of a herd. Identifying and predicting the causes are ways research can improve health and welfare on farms.

The intestinal microbiota interacts with the immune system via its host. Our study was aimed at analyzing the relation with the intensity of vaccine response in pigs vaccinated against IAV. The animals were vaccinated upon weaning at 28 days of age (J28), with a challenge three weeks later. Their immune responses to vaccination were followed by specific antibody assays and hemaglutination tests at different times:  early (on the day of challenge), at the peak of response (1 to 2 weeks after the challenge) and before slaughter between 140 and 150 days of age (long-term persistance of antibodies). The microbiota was characterized by sequencing of the RNAr 16S gene from fecal DNA and analysis of operational taxonomics units (OTU).

We observed a higher pre-vaccination microbial richness of the fecal microbiota in high responders to the vaccine compared to low responders with an overabundance of Prevotella and Muribaculaceae genera OTU. On the contrary, lower responders presented a higher abundancy of  Helicobacter Bacteroides, Christensenellaceae R7-group, Succinivibrio and Escherichia-Shigella genera OTU. These bacterial genera suggest that the associations identified implicate mechanisms associated with free fatty acid synthesis favoring the stimulation of the immune system or LPS with variable immunomodulating properties. At day 28, we also identified a group of 81 OTU predictors of response peak intensity.

These promising results must undergo additional studies before they can be used in vaccination protocols.

Borey M, Blanc F, Lemonnier G, Leplat J-J, Jardet D, Rossignol M-N, Ravon L, Billon Y, Bernard M, Estellé J, Rogel-Gaillard C. Links between fecal microbiota and the response to vaccination against influenza A virus in pigs. npj Vaccines 6, 92 (2021).

Contact :

  • Marion Borey (marion.borey(at)
  • Claire Rogel-Gaillard (claire.rogel-gaillard(at)

See also

Financing :

European H2020 SAPHIR Project "Strengthening Animal Production and Health through the Immune Response" ( ; Crédit Agricole Ile de France Sponsoring (young talent programme

Core and Experimental Facilities: