Immunization of pregnant cows with bacteria leads to the presence of high concentrations of specific antibodies in colostrum and milk. A total of 14 cows was immunized with single strains of heat-killed oral bacteria or pools of strains of Actinomyces, Porphyromonas, Prevotella, and Fusobacterium. Two cows were treated with adjuvant alone. The mean percentages of IgGl, IgG2, IgM, and IgA in all of the milks were 83.8, 3.8, 9.3, and 3.1, respectively. ELISA and whole cell agglutination assays demonstrated high titers in the milks from the cows immunized with either individual strains or the bacterial pools. The highest titers determined by ELISA belonged to the IgGl isotype and in several milks were 64-fold greater than titers in milk from cows treated with adjuvant alone. The concentrations of all antibodies and the titers determined by ELISA and whole cell agglutination assays markedly decreased from the first to the sixth milkings. The functional specificity of the antibodies was demonstrated by agglutination tests against a wide range of bacteria including members of Actinomyces, Fusobacterium, Porphyromonas, Prevotella, Streptococcus, Eubacterium, Propionibacterium,Peptostreptococcus,Bacteroides,Actinobacillus, Haemophilus, Capnocytophaga, and Wolinella. Minimal cross-reactions with bacteria in other genera were observed with all of the milks. High-titer milk preparations have been obtained from immunized cows, and the capacity of the bovine antibodies to agglutinate target bacteria indicates their potential usefulness in oral passive immunization studies.
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