Immunization Against a Challenge with Insect Vector, Metacyclic Forms of Trypanosoma Cruzi Simulating a Natural Infection

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  • Department of Microbiology and Public Health, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824

The protective effects of immunization with an antigen derived from epimastigote forms of Trypanosoma cruzi against challenges with vector metacyclic or bloodstream forms of the parasite were investigated. A marked degree of protection was observed in the immunized mice after challenged with bloodstream or insect-transmissible metacyclic forms. High rates of survival in the immunized groups were accompanied by relatively low, short-lasting parasitemias in some of the animals and significant percentages of immunized mice never developed a measurable parasitemia during the course of the experiments. In contrast, all of the non-immunized animals showed high levels of parasitemias. Similar results were obtained whether the metacyclic challenge was by the intraperitoneal or by the ocular route for which conditions mimicking a natural infection were selected. These results emphasize the protection that immunization confers against challenge with insect-transmissible forms of T. cruzi, and the feasibility of protecting a highly susceptible host against an otherwise lethal acute infection similar to one occurring naturally.

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