Identification of larval-stage-specific antigens of Onchocerca volvulus uniquely recognized by putative immune sera from humans and vaccination sera from animal models

M. Irvine, E. H. Johnson, S. Lustigman

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Immunity to Onchocerca volvulus is indicated by the existence of putative immune individuals (PI), who do not develop patent infections or clinical symptoms after living in endemic areas for extended periods of time. To gain insight into the nature of the humoral response of PI from Liberia and Ecuador, their sera and those of infected individuals were investigated and compared using western blots. The antigen preparations used were extracts of third- and fourth-stage larvae (L3 and L4, respectively), excretory-secretory proteins (ES-L3) and extracts of third-stage larvae (L3-day2) that had been cultured for 2 days, and extracts of nodular and skin microfilariae. Whereas some antigens were commonly recognized by all individuals, many stage-specific antigens (of 68, 60, 55, 46, 43, 42, 20 and 18 kDa in L3; 100, 88, 80, 50, 48, 45, 40 and 20 kDa in L3-day2; 110, 80 and 72 kDa in ES-L3; 48, 18, 16 and 14 kDa in L4; and 115, 60, 47, 43 and 17 kDa in skin and/or nodular microfilariae) were uniquely recognized by sera from PI. Some of the unique antigens were also recognized by sera from mice and a chimpanzee that were resistant to challenge after immunization with irradiated third-stage larvae. The results support the validity of the assumption that a unique status of immunity develops in certain individuals living in areas where onchocerciasis is endemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-77
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

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