Circulating Excretory-Secretory Antigen Levels and Specific Antibody Responses in Mice Infected with Toxocara canis

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  • Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Circulatory excretory-secretory antigen levels and IgM and IgG responses to larval antigens were monitored in the serum of 20 BALB/c mice that had been given approximately 500 infective eggs of Toxocara canis by stomach tube. Other groups of mice received different doses of infective eggs, ranging from 5 to 1,250 eggs. Excretory-secretory antigens were collected from culture fluid in which mechanically hatched larvae of T. canis were maintained. An indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to monitor specific antibody responses. Circulating antigen levels were monitored using a direct ELISA which incorporated an IgG fraction of a rabbit antiserum to the excretory-secretory antigens as a capture antibody and a biotin-conjugated form of the same rabbit IgG as the second antibody. The antigen-specific IgM response was evident the first week of infection and peaked 3 to 6 weeks post-infection. The antigen-specific IgG response first appeared the second week of infection and peaked at 6 to 8 weeks post-infection. Both isotype levels stayed near their peak values for the remainder of the study. In the untreated sera, circulating antigen was initially evident and highest the first week of infection; the antigen concentrations dropped by the third month of infection to low, but significant, levels that persisted for the duration of the study. The administration of >25 eggs produced antigenemias. There appeared to be a positive linear trend between the number of eggs given and the amount of antigen in the circulation.