Evaluation of infertility efficacy of the E. coli expressed STF2-GnRH vaccine in male cats.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is secreted from the hypothalamus and anti-GnRH antibodies are not formed under normal conditions. However, administration an excess of recombinant GnRH protein results in the formation of anti-GnRH. We evaluated the efficacy of the recombinant Salmonella typhimurium flagellin fljB (STF2)-GnRH vaccine in inducing infertility in 17 intact male cats. The first vaccination and a boosting vaccine was injected for examination. Serum was obtained from blood collected at monthly intervals and anti-GnRH antibodies and testosterone concentrations were determined. Six months after the vaccination, testicular samples are obtained and used for histological examination. Compared with sham control group, the injection groups showed an increase in anti-GnRH antibody titers and testosterone concentrations tended to be reduced in the injection groups and increased in the control group. Histological evaluations and Johnsen's testicular biopsy scores revealed testicular hypoplasia in the 2 injection groups. Consequently, normal sexual maturation with sperm production was observed in the control group. In contrast, the cats that received the GnRH vaccine showed weak (2 of 7 cats) or moderate (4 out of 7 cats) dose-dependent infertility effects. On the basis of the results, the STF2-GnRH vaccine was identified to be effective in inducing infertility in male cats. The results of this study thus indicate the possibility of immunological castration targeting feral cats.