Sustainable control of human filariasis would benefit enormously from the development of an effective vaccine. The ability to vaccinate experimental animals, with reductions in worm burden of over 70%, suggests this aim is possible. However, in experimental vaccinations the challenge is usually administered 2 weeks after the immunisation phase and thus the protection obtained is likely to be biased by persisting inflammation. Using the murine model Litomosoides sigmodontis, we increased the time between immunisation with irradiated larvae and challenge with fully infective L3 to 5 months. Significant protection was achieved (54-58%) and the reduced worm burden was observed by 10 days p.i. The developmental stage targeted was the L3, since no nematodes died once they reached the pleural cavity of vaccinated mice, as has been previously shown in short-term protocols. However, larval developmental rate was faster in vaccinated than in primary-infected mice. Immunological assessments were made prior to challenge and then from 6 h to 34 days post-challenge. Samples were taken from the subcutaneous tissue where the larvae were inoculated, the lymph nodes through which they migrate and the pleural cavity in which they establish. Eosinophils were still present although scarce in the subcutaneous tissue of vaccinated mice before challenge. Cytokine and specific antibody production of vaccinated and challenged mice were L3-specific and Th2-biased and greatly exceeded the response of primary-infected mice. The heightened Th2 response may explain the faster development of the filarial worms in vaccinated mice. Thus, long-term vaccination protocols generated a strong memory response that led to significant but incomplete protection that was limited to the infective larval stage suggesting alternative vaccination strategies are needed.
- enzyme-linked immunosorbent Assay
- flow cytometry
- lymph nodes
- iInbred BALB C
- pleural cavity
- reverse transcriptase Polymerase chain reaction