Effects of Anti-Schistosomal Chemotherapy on Immune Responses, Protection and Immunity

II. Concomitant Immunity and Immunization with Irradiated Cercariae

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  • Department of Microbiology, Vanderbilt University and Veterans Administration Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37203

Resistance of mice to challenge infections of Schistosoma mansoni was evaluated before and after elimination of their primary, established S. mansoni infections with the chemotherapeutic drug praziquantel. Mice treated after either 10 or 20 weeks of primary infection were challenged 6 or 10 weeks after treatment. Mice infected for 10 weeks prior to treatment expressed progressively less resistance 6 and 10 weeks after treatment. By 10 weeks after treatment significant levels of protection were no longer observed. Resistance waned more slowly if mice were treated 20 weeks after infection, and there was still significant expression of resistance to challenge 10 weeks after treatment. A separate set of experiments evaluated the use of highly irradiated cercariae as a vaccine in mice that had been previously infected with S. mansoni and cured with praziquantel. It was observed that effective immunizations were possible in previously infected mice. These studies demonstrate that established resistance waned after treatment and the rate of loss of protection was dependent upon the duration of infection prior to treatment. Furthermore, the irradiated cercarial vaccine studies indicate that in the murine model induction of immunological resistance was feasible following chemotherapeutic treatment of infected populations.

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