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Int J Parasitol. 1992 Aug;22(5):573-9.

Skin penetration by ensheathed third-stage infective larvae of Necator americanus, and the host's immune response to larval antigens.

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Department of Life Science, University of Nottingham, University Park, U.K.


In vitro experiments were conducted to assess skin penetration by ensheathed third-stage infective larvae (L3) of Necator americanus. The fact that only a small proportion of larval sheaths was recoverable from the outer skin surface suggested that some larvae penetrate mouse skin without undergoing exsheathment. Penetration by ensheathed larvae was confirmed visually using a novel fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labelling technique in which viable ensheathed larvae were fluoresceinated, applied onto intact mouse skin, and their progress monitored in frozen skin sections. This direct observation that the L2-derived sheath can present antigens to the host's immune system was also monitored by immunoassay to provide confirmatory information regarding skin penetration by ensheathed larvae. Sera from humans infected with Necator americanus were shown to react in ELISA against antigens stripped by detergent (cetyltrimethylammonium bromide) from the sheath surface, and with antigens contained in L3-exsheathing fluid. These data suggest that the host's immune response, as a result of antigenic stimulation by the cast sheath and exsheathing fluid, could in fact be diverted away from the potentially vulnerable L3 stage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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