Rhesus macaques self-curing from a schistosome infection can display complete immunity to challenge

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The rhesus macaque provides a unique model of acquired immunity against schistosomes, which afflict >200 million people worldwide. By monitoring bloodstream levels of parasite-gut-derived antigen, we show that from week 10 onwards an established infection with Schistosoma mansoni is cleared in an exponential manner, eliciting resistance to reinfection. Secondary challenge at week 42 demonstrates that protection is strong in all animals and complete in some. Antibody profiles suggest that antigens mediating protection are the released products of developing schistosomula. In culture they are killed by addition of rhesus plasma, collected from week 8 post-infection onwards, and even more efficiently with post-challenge plasma. Furthermore, cultured schistosomula lose chromatin activating marks at the transcription start site of genes related to worm development and show decreased expression of genes related to lysosomes and lytic vacuoles involved with autophagy. Overall, our results indicate that enhanced antibody responses against the challenge migrating larvae mediate the naturally acquired protective immunity and will inform the route to an effective vaccine.
Amaral MS, Santos DW, Pereira ASA, Tahira AC, Malvezzi JVM, Miyasato PA, et al. Rhesus macaques self-curing from a schistosome infection can display complete immunity to challenge. Nat. Commun. 2021 Oct;12:6181. doi:10.1038/s41467-021-26497-0.
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