Bancroftian Filariasis in Haiti: Preliminary Characterization of the Immunological Responsiveness of Microfilaremic Individuals

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  • * Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
  • | Department of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112
  • | Parasitic Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333
  • | § Delta Regional Primate Research Center, Tulane University, Covington, Louisiana 70433

Patent infections with the lymphatic filariae, Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi, are associated with suppressed in vitro cellular responsiveness to filarial antigens. In studies of bancroftian filariasis in Haiti, a significant number of microfilaremic individuals can be characterized as “responders” to filarial antigens. Cells from 37/74 untreated microfilaremic subjects responded to B. pahangi antigen (stimulation ratio > 2) as detected by in vitro blastogenesis. A comparison of responders to nonresponders revealed a significant difference in mean B. pahangi reactivity (15,822 vs. 4,538 cpm, P < 0.001), but no significant differences with respect to age, microfilaremia, PPD or PHA reactivity, or B. pahangi-specific antibody levels. Subtle differences may exist between these groups with respect to recognition of specific antigens on Western blots.