Evidence Against the Existence of Specific Schistosoma mansoni Subpopulations which are Resistant to Irradiated Vaccine-Induced Immunity

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  • * Biomedical Research Institute, 12111 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20852
  • | Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
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When mice are immunized with irradiated Schistosoma mansoni cercariae a proportion of the subsequent cercarial challenge always escapes killing and matures to egglaying adults. This report investigates the possibility that incomplete immunity in this system is governed by a genetically-determined insusceptibility of a particular schistosome subpopulation. To do this we tested whether more immunoresistant schistosomes would develop following successive passages of progeny of the resistant worms through immunized mice. Mice were immunized with 500 50 Krad-irradiated cercariae, and challenged with normal cercariae when immunity was at its peak. After five successive passages through snails and immune mice, progeny of those parasites which escaped immune killing were no more refractory to vaccine-induced resistance than the original stock maintained in nonimmune mice. Additionally, the “passaged” isolates did not differ from the original stock in their ability to induce protection following irradiation. Our results indicate that with this model of acquired resistance incomplete immunity is unlikely to be due to a subpopulation of the parasites possessing a genetically-determined insusceptibility to killing.