Safety testing of veterinary vaccines using magnetic resonance imaging in pigs

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Maren Bernau
Prisca V. Kremer
Elke Pappenberger
Lena S. Kreuzer
Klaus Cussler
Andreas Hoffmann
Armin M. Scholz


Safety testing of veterinary vaccines requires the use of a large number of animals to investigate possible local and systemic reactions. This includes, among others, the pathological examination of the injection site in frequent intervals. This examination requires a selected killing of animals in frequent intervals. To reduce the number of animals needed for this kind of safety testing, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was used to detect and quantify possible local reactions after vaccination in vivo. Sixty-four pigs were divided into four experimental groups (n = 16); two groups consisting of 12-week-old pigs and two of 6-month-old pigs at vaccination day. The pigs were vaccinated with four licensed products (each group receiving one vaccine) and examined up to 6 times using MRI during a period of 5 weeks. The MR images were evaluated semi-automatically, comparing the volumes of altered signal intensities on the vaccination side (VS) with the volumes of the signal intensities on the control side (CS). A paired t-test was used to identify significant differences (p < 0.05) between VS and CS. The results show that MRI allows a 3D-quantification of the extent of local reactions in vivo by scanning the same live animals at several time points after vaccination. MRI is a suitable alternative method for non-invasive safety testing of injectable medicines and can therefore be applied to reduce animal numbers used for safety testing purposes.

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How to Cite
Bernau, M., Kremer, P. V., Pappenberger, E., Kreuzer, L. S., Cussler, K., Hoffmann, A. and Scholz, A. M. (2015) “Safety testing of veterinary vaccines using magnetic resonance imaging in pigs”, ALTEX - Alternatives to animal experimentation, 32(1), pp. 51-58. doi: 10.14573/altex.1407071.

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