Isolation and Characterization of Schistosoma Haematobium Egg Antigens

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  • Laboratory of Parasite Immunology, Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico 00931

Schistosoma haematobium soluble egg antigen (ShSEA) was prepared from eggs isolated from the livers of hamsters or mice infected for at least 3 months. Immunoaffinity purified S. haematobium egg antigens (ShSh) were isolated by first passing ShSEA through a column containing anti-S. mansoni hamster IgG coupled to CNBr-activated Sepharose 4B, and recycling the unbound fraction until no more bound material could be eluted with an acid wash. The unbound fraction was then filtered through a second antibody affinity column containing anti-S. haematobium hamster IgG, and in the acid eluate the ShSh antigens were obtained. This antigenic preparation was shown by PAGE to contain at least 6 distinct bands ranging in molecular weight (Mr) from 116 to <31 Kd. A 40 Kd polypeptide was identified by both silver staining and EITB as specific for S. haematobium eggs. In addition, a 55 Kd worm-egg shared antigen was identified as a prominent band in EITB expressed during a primary S. haematobium hamster infection. The sera from hamsters harboring patent S. haematobium or S. mansoni infections were reacted by ELISA with ShSh antigens. The anti-Sh sera showed significantly higher absorbance values than the anti-Sm sera, demonstrating that only a minor population of S. mansoni cross-reactive egg antigens is still present in the ShSh antigens. Sera collected weekly for 13 weeks from hamsters with a primary infection of S. haematobium were then tested by ELISA against ShSh, ShSEA and SmSEA antigens. Antibody levels against both ShSEA and SmSEA were shown to increase early in infection (2 weeks). Moreover, antibody levels to ShSh did not increase until week 5 post-infection. These findings suggest that the purification procedure utilized results in the elimination of most of the S. mansoni worm antigens cross-reactive with S. haematobium eggs. The ShSh antigens had shown a high degree of of sensitivity and stage-species specificity also suggesting their potential as antigens for the immunodiagnosis of schistosomiasis haematobia.