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Differential Cytokine and Antibody Responses to Adult and Larval Stages of Onchocerca volvulus Consistent with the Development of Concomitant Immunity

By Angus J. MacDonald, Prasad S. D. Turaga, Carolyn Harmon-Brown, Tracy J. Tierney, Kristine E. Bennett, Maggie C. McCarthy, Scott C. Simonek, Peter A. Enyong, Daniel W. Moukatte and Sara Lustigman


The possibility of concomitant immunity and its potential mechanisms in Onchocerca volvulus infection were examined by analyzing cytokine and antibody responses to infective larval (third-stage larvae [L3] and molting L3 [mL3]), adult female worm (F-OvAg), and skin microfilaria (Smf) antigens in infected individuals in a region of hyperendemicity in Cameroon as a function of age. Peripheral blood mononuclear cell interleukin 5 (IL-5) responses to F-OvAg and Smf declined significantly with age (equivalent to years of exposure to O. volvulus). In contrast, IL-5 secretion in response to L3 and mL3 remained elevated with increasing age. Gamma interferon responses to L3, mL3, and F-OvAg were low or suppressed and unrelated to age, except for responses to Smf in older subjects. IL-10 levels were uniformly elevated, regardless of age, in response to L3, mL3, and F-OvAg but not to Smf, for which levels declined with age. A total of 49 to 60% of subjects had granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor responses to all O. volvulus antigens unrelated to age. Analysis of levels of stage-specific immunoglobulin G3 (IgG3) and IgE revealed a striking, age-dependent dissociation between antibody responses to larval antigens (L3 and a recombinant L3-specific protein, O. volvulus ALT-1) which were significantly increased or maintained with age and antibody responses to F-OvAg, which decreased. Levels of IgG1 to L3 and F-OvAg were elevated regardless of age, and levels of IgG4 increased significantly with age, although not to O. volvulus ALT-1, which may have unique L3-specific epitopes. Immunofluorescence staining of whole larvae showed that total anti-L3 immunoglobulin levels also increased with the age of the serum donor. The separate and distinct cytokine and antibody responses to adult and infective larval stages of O. volvulus which are age related are consistent with the acquisition of concomitant immunity in infected individuals

Topics: Fungal and Parasitic Infections
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1128/IAI.70.6.2796-2804.2002
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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