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

Patrick J. LammieDepartment of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

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Lily E. LeivaDepartment of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

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Andrea J. RuffDepartment of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

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Mark L. EberhardParasitic Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333

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Robert C. Lowrie Jr.Delta Regional Primate Research Center, Tulane University, Covington, Louisiana 70433

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Stephen P. KatzDepartment of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112

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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.

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