Active immunization against gonadotropin-releasing hormone in female white-tailed deer

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Susan E. Becker, William J. Enright, Larry S. Katz
Zoo Biology
Inc., John Wiley & Sons
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Abstract 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2361(1999)18:5<385::AID-ZOO3>3.3.CO;2-V The ability of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) immunization to disrupt estrous cycles in captive white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was tested. Four does were each injected subcutaneously with 1 mg of a GnRH analog-ovalbumin conjugate, using a diethylaminoethyl (DEAE)-dextran solution as the adjuvant. Control deer (n = 4) received ovalbumin alone in DEAE-dextran. The immunization schedule consisted of a primary immunization on 30 December 1994, followed by three booster immunizations at 4-week intervals. In addition, a booster was administered the following year (3 Nov 1995) before the start of the breeding season. Serum from control females did not contain GnRH antibodies, and estrous cycles of these deer were not disrupted (as determined by serum progesterone concentrations). In contrast, all GnRH-immunized deer had detectable GnRH antibody titers by 1 week after the first booster. Estrous cycles were disrupted in two of these four deer. The booster given the following year failed to stimulate an increase in mean antibody titers, and all deer began to cycle, including one that had maintained high titers from the previous year. These data suggest that a GnRH analog conjugated to ovalbumin, using DEAE-dextran as adjuvant, is immunogenic in female white-tailed deer and may be able to prevent ovulation in some individuals. However, pending further work to increase the immunogenic and biological responses and to decrease the variation among animals, this vaccine does not appear to be an effective means of contraception for deer. Zoo Biol 18:385–396, 1999. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


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