Schistosoma Mansoni: Radiation Dose and Morphologic Integrity of Schistosomules as Factors for an Effective Cryopreserved Live Vaccine

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  • Biomedical Research Institute, 12111 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20852
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The effectiveness of a cryopreserved, irradiated schistosomule vaccine against an homologous Schistosoma mansoni cercarial challenge was tested in C57B1/6 mice. Highly significant levels of protection developed consistently when mice were immunized with the vaccine irradiated at 10–20 Krad, i.e., doses below that considered optimal for irradiated cercariae (50 Krad). Cryopreserved schistosomules irradiated at 10 or 20 Krad induced greater levels of protection than did schistosomules irradiated at 2, 5, 30, or 50 Krad. Protective immunity developed as early as 3 weeks post-immunization. When immunizing inocula were injected at various times post-thaw, or when schistosomule subpopulations of normal-appearing, damaged or dead organisms were injected, those populations which had appeared to sustain the least degree of damage were those most capable of stimulating protective immunity. These findings highlight the hazards of extrapolating conditions considered standard for an irradiated cercarial vaccine to one in which cryopreservation, for storage of the schistosomules, is an added stress.