Immunization against Porcine Cysticercosis in an Endemic Area in Mexico: a Field and Laboratory Study

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  • Instituto de Fisiologia Celular, Departamento de Microbiologia e Inmunologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Colegio Agropecuarlo del Estado de Guerrero, Facultad de Medicina, Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Departamento de Inmunologia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Hospital Civil de Rio Blanco, Mexico City, Mexico

An antigenic extract from Taenia solium metacestodes was evaluated for immunogenicity in pig populations from a large area of endemic porcine cysticercosis in the State of Guerrero, Mexico. A total of 3,295 pigs from 18 villages were immunized with a single dose of 250 µg of protein administered intramuscularly. Systematic immunization was also performed on pigs (1,076 immunizations) from two of the villages with the highest percentages of cysticercosis. A year after immunization, porcine cysticercosis decreased from 4.8% and 5.4% to 0%. Immunity against the T. solium metacestode was estimated in vitro by measurements of 3H-thymidine uptake and inhibition of leukocyte migration. Peripheral blood lymphocytes from immunized cysticercotic (pigs that had cysticercosis prior to immunization), cysticercotic immunized (pigs that acquired cysticercosis after immunization), and normal control pigs incorporated 3H-thymidine better than lymphocytes from cysticercotic pigs when stimulated with concanavalin A. A significant inhibition in the leukocyte migration inhibition test was also found in leukocytes from immunized cysticercotic pigs (P < 0.01). Histopathologic studies revealed granuloma formation surrounding the metacestodes of the immunized cysticercotic and cysticercotic immunized pigs. These metacestodes exhibited several stages of destruction. Large numbers of eosinophils were frequently observed in a close association with the degeneration and destruction of parasites. Metacestodes in control cysticercotic pigs were intact and surrounded by a minor inflammatory reaction. Finally, the rate of in vitro evagination of scolices was high in metacestodes obtained from cysticercotic pigs and low or absent in those from immunized pigs (P < 0.01).