The Cellular and Humoral Immune Response to Schistosoma Mansoni Infections in Inbred Rats

IV. A Posteriori Interpretations

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  • Department of Medicine, Allergy and Immunology Section, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Department of Parasitic Diseases, Division of Communicable Disease and Immunology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Pathobiology Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19174
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The rat represents a unique host for Schistosoma mansoni. Although susceptible to infection, it is extremely resistant to initial exposure to S. mansoni and manifests a spontaneous dramatic decrease in parasitic burden approximately 1 mo after initial infection. Following an initial exposure to normal or irradiated S. mansoni cercariae or to certain homogenates of this organism, the rat demonstrates an anamnestic response to reexposure with increased resistance to reinfection. Because of these characteristics of high intrinsic resistance, it has been in the rat that many immunologically mediated resistance mechanisms have been most clearly demonstrated.

It is the purpose of this paper to summarize a portion of that data, obtained through the study of schistosomiasis in the rat, which has enabled a partial elucidation of immune mechanisms which are operative in schistosomiasis.

Caution must be exercised in interpreting these results. Since defense mechanisms are highly effective in the rat, analogies drawn between this species and more sensitive species such as man must be done with caution.