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Humoral response in Treponema pallidum-infected guinea pigs: I. Antibody specificity.

By K Wicher, A Jakubowski and V Wicher


Young male inbred strain 2 guinea pigs were infected intradermally with 8 X 10(7) Treponema pallidum extracted from a rabbit orchitis, and 5 months later reinfected with 10(7) T. pallidum. Ninety percent of the animals developed symptomatic lesions after initial infection but none on challenge. Immunoblotting of sera obtained at intervals after infection or reinfection showed antibodies against T. pallidum antigen (TP), nonpathogenic treponemes--T. phagedenis biotype Reiter (TR), T. refringens strain Noguchi (TN), and T. vincentii (TV)--as well as normal rabbit serum (NRS) and normal rabbit testes extract (NRT). Antibodies reacting with TP were detected as early as 17 days (five polypeptides) and steadily rose (at 3 months 17 polypeptides were seen). Cross-reacting antibodies to TR, TN, TV, or rabbit proteins decreased within 3 to 5 months. After reinfection, the antibodies to NRS increased more sharply than the anti-treponemal antibodies. Adsorption with TR and NRS of sera obtained after infection or reinfection produced a reduction of antibodies to TP by 75-87%

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