This study investigated the ability of two novel adjuvant formulations, QCDC (Quil A/cholesterol/DDA/Carbopol) and QCDCR (QCDC/Bay R1005), in combination with a recombinant profilin vaccine, to modulate host protective immunity and to alter gene expression during experimental avian coccidiosis. Vaccination with profilin plus QCDCR significantly reduced the severity of intestinal lesions and increased mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation in infected chickens compared with immunization with profilin alone or profilin plus QCDC. Immunization with profilin plus QCDC or profilin plus QCDCR increased body weight gain but had no effect on fecal oocyst shedding of chickens infected with Eimeria acervulina compared with birds vaccinated with profilin alone. The results of global gene expression analysis revealed that, compared with PBS controls, (a) chickens vaccinated with profilin alone had 71 up-regulated and 56 down-regulated mRNA transcripts, (b) chickens immunized with profilin plus QCDC had 198 up-regulated and 247 down-regulated mRNAs, and (c) birds immunized with profilin plus QCDCR had 210 up-regulated and 267 down-regulated mRNAs. Compared with birds vaccinated with profilin alone, (a) chickens given profilin plus QCDC had 60 up-regulated and 104 down-regulated transcripts and (b) chickens immunized with profilin plus QCDCR had 103 up-regulated and 130 down-regulated mRNAs. Finally, chickens vaccinated with profilin plus QCDCR had 193 up-regulated and 204 down-regulated transcripts compared with birds given profilin plus QCDC. Biological function and network analysis revealed that the majority of altered transcripts were encoded by immune-related genes.

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