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Approaches for the vaccination and treatment of Neospora caninum infections in mice and ruminant models



Neospora caninum is a leading cause of abortion in cattle, and is thus an important veterinary health problem of high economic significance. Vaccination has been considered a viable strategy to prevent bovine neosporosis. Different approaches have been investigated, and to date the most promising results have been achieved with live-attenuated vaccines. Subunit vaccines have also been studied, and most of them represented components that are functionally involved in (i) the physical interaction between the parasite and its host cell during invasion or (ii) tachyzoite-to-bradyzoite stage conversion. Drugs have been considered as an option to limit the effects of vertical transmission of N. caninum. Promising results with a small panel of compounds in small laboratory animal models indicate the potential value of a chemotherapeutical approach for the prevention of neosporosis in ruminants. For both, vaccines and drugs, the key for success in preventing vertical transmission lies in the application of bioactive compounds that limit parasite proliferation and dissemination, without endangering the developing fetus not only during an exogenous acute infection but also during recrudescence of a chronic infection. In this review, the current status of vaccine and drug development is presented and novel strategies against neosporosis are discussed.


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*Corresponding author: Institute of Parasitology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Länggass-Strasse 122, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland. Tel. +41 31 6312384. Fax: +41 31 6312477. E-mail:


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