Protective Immunity to Brugia malayi Larvae in Balb/c Mice: Potential of this Model for the Identification of Protective Antigens

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  • Molecular Parasitology Group, New England Biolabs, 32 Tozer Road, Beverly, Massachusetts 01915

Protective immune responses against the infective larvae of Brugia malayi have been demonstrated in BALB/c mice. Various factors governing resistance to reinfection have been examined to provide baseline data for use of this model in studies of immunoprophylaxis. Parasites that established following a primary infection survived for approximately 10 days, following which numbers declined rapidly to a low level. Resistance was evidenced by a more rapid clearance of secondary infection parasites. The degree of immunity expressed was not related to the route of administration of the initial infection (subcutaneous, intravenous, intramuscular, or intraperitoneal). However, both the level of resistance and the rapidity of its expression were dependent on dose, with as few as 2 larvae stimulating measurable immunity. Sensitization with living male or female adult worms, fourth stage larvae or microfilariae of B. malayi, or infective larvae of B. pahangi conferred substantial resistance to larval challenge. Significant levels of immunity were also induced by dead B. malayi larvae (46%) and their aqueous extracts (76%), but not with the corresponding insoluble fraction. We suggest that this experimental system is ideally suited to aid in the identification of putative protective antigens in brugian filariasis.