Assessment of local reaction to vaccines in live piglets with magnetic resonance imaging compared to histopathology

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Maren Bernau , Prisca V. Kremer, Lena S. Kreuzer, Daniela Emrich, Elke Pappenberger, Klaus Cussler, Andreas Hoffmann, Miriam Leipig, Walter Hermanns, Armin Manfred Scholz
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The safety of veterinary vaccines is assessed in clinical trials in Europe. The assessment of the local tissue reaction to vaccination by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could reduce the number of animals needed because repeated examinations can be performed in the same animal over time. The present study compared the evaluation of local tissue reactions to vaccination using MRI in live pigs with histopathology of porcine tissue, the current gold standard in regulatory safety testing. Eight piglets each were administered one of two commercial vaccines into marked injection sites. All animals were sedated and scanned repeatedly by MRI using a contrast agent up to day 29 after vaccination. On day 29, the animals were euthanized and underwent a pathological examination. The MRI results were compared with the pathomorphological findings at the injection site by regression analysis. The MR images and the pathological examinations yielded matching results concerning the sizes of the affected tissue volumes or areas. The use of MRI for regulatory safety testing can reduce the number of animals needed to 8 per examination group. The volume of a local reaction and its progression over time can be evaluated and documented. If persistent lesions develop a final pathomorphological examination is needed to identify the kind and local distribution of the reaction.

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Bernau, M., Kremer, P. V., Kreuzer, L. S., Emrich, D., Pappenberger, E., Cussler, K., Hoffmann, A., Leipig, M., Hermanns, W. and Scholz, A. M. (2016) “Assessment of local reaction to vaccines in live piglets with magnetic resonance imaging compared to histopathology”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 33(1), pp. 29–36. doi: 10.14573/altex.1507211.

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