Jefatura de los Servicios de Investigacion Medica, Unidad de Investigacion Medica en Epidemiologia Clinica, Hospital de Pediatria Centro Medico Siglo XXI, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Departamento de Medicina Experimental, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
The sera of cohorts of newborn infants and their mothers, characterized as cyst passers of Entamoeba with nonpathogenic zymodemes (E. dispar) and seropositive for amoebic antigens, were analyzed. Both cohorts were followed for a period of 12 months by microscopic examination of feces and determination of serum anti-amoebic antibody titers using the indirect hemagglutination assay. Control groups (noncyst passer mothers and their infants) were included and followed. To characterize antigens involved in the induction of IgG and IgA antibody responses, Western blots of serum from all participants were tested and immunoplots of the frequency of antigenic recognition were constructed. Results of clinical follow-up and microscpoic examination of feces showed that during the 12-month period none of the cyst passer mothers had episodes of diarrhea attributable to E. histolytica invasion; five of 21 children of cyst passer mothers became infected during the study, five of five infected children developed serum antiamebic antibodies (titers 1:64–1:128); none of the cohort of children from cyst passer mothers had diarrhea due to E. histolytica. Western blot analysis showed that there are antigenic fractions that induce serum antibodies of the IgG and IgA classes against E. dispar very early in the host-parasite relationship. Our results suggest that mechanisms of antibody induction different from intestinal invasion may be operating in amebic infection. Intestinal absorption of antigen, systemic reflection of secretory antibody response, and priming of newborns by maternal anti-idiotypic antibody transfer are discussed.