Immunity to Taenia solium infection was investigated using an experimental intramuscular oncosphere infection assay (IMOA) model in pigs. Three naturally infected pigs with cysticercosis were treated with oxfendazole (OFZ), a drug demonstrated to kill cysts in porcine muscle. These animals were then challenged with oncospheres but did not develop any cysts while three uninfected pigs that were similarly challenged, did develop intramuscular cysts. In another study, two groups of three pigs each were immunized with crude T. solium oncosphere and metacestode antigens, respectively, and tested with the IMOA. Immunization with crude oncosphere antigens (OAs) induced 100% protection, while metacestode antigens provided only partial protection. Immunoblots showed that pigs with complete immune protection to oncosphere intramuscular challenge had antibodies to two OAs at 31.3 and 22.5kDa, respectively. Antibody to these two antigens was absent in pigs immunized with metacestodes or in uninfected control pigs. This study demonstrated the presence of two antigens that are unique to the oncosphere. Although, antibody to these two antigens is consistently present in pigs that are protected from an oncosphere intramuscular challenge their role in preventing infection by T. solium larval cysts is still hypothetical.
- Taenia solium
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