Experimental Onchocerca Volvulus Infections in Mangabey Monkeys (Cercocebus Atys) Compared to Infections in Humans and Chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes)

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  • Division of Parasitic Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, Emory University, Centro de Investigaciones en Enfermedades Tropicales, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, Ministry of Health, Atlanta, Georgia

Three chimpanzees, three mangabey monkeys (Cercocebus atys), and 14 patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) were inoculated with L3 Onchocerca volvulus of Guatemalan origin. One chimpanzee and two mangabey monkeys developed antibody activity to at least three different antigens. Both mangabey monkeys recognized a 20 kDa antigen 3.5–5 months post-inoculation, and the monkeys and the chimpanzee developed antibody activity to 14 and 22 kDa antigens 7.5–13 months post-inoculation. One mangabey monkey and the chimpanzee became microfilaria-positive in skin snips at 16 and 21 months post-inoculation, respectively. Antibody activity to the 20 kDa antigen in the mangabey monkeys is noteworthy because of the prominence of this antigen among putatively immune persons living in onchocerciasis-endemic areas. The two mangabey monkeys responded parasitologically in a manner comparable to immune humans. No microfilariae were detected in one monkey and only scant numbers of microfilariae were observed in the second. The mangabey monkey may be a good animal model for the study of onchocerciasis.

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