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Antibodies to glycans dominate the host response to schistosome larvae and eggs: Is their role protective or subversive?

By M. Eberl, J.A.M. Langermans, R.A. Vervenne, A.K. Nyame, R.D. Cummings, A.W. Thomas, P.S. Coulson and R.A. Wilson


Multiple exposures of chimpanzees to the radiation-attenuated schistosome vaccine provoked a strong parasite-specific cellular and humoral immune response. Specific IgM and IgG were directed mainly against glycans on antigens released by cercariae; these were also cross-reactive with soluble antigens from larvae, adult worms, and eggs. Egg deposition was the major antigenic stimulus after challenge of vaccinated and control chimpanzees with normal parasites, eliciting strong antiglycan responses to egg secretions. Glycan epitopes recognized included LacdiNAc, fucosylated LacdiNAc, LewisX (weakly), and those on keyhole limpet hemocyanin. Antibodies to peptide epitopes became prominent only during the chronic phase of infection, as glycan-specific IgM and IgG decreased. Because of their intensity and cross-reactivity, the antiglycan responses resulting from infection could be a smoke screen to subvert the immune system away from more vulnerable larval peptide epitopes. Their occurrence in humans might explain the long time required for antischistosome immunity to build up after infection

Year: 2001
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