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Int J Immunopharmacol. 1989;11(4):403-10.

Immunization against Trypanosoma cruzi: adjuvant effect of glucan.

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Department of Physiology, Tulane University, School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112.


Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas' disease, infects humans and animals in tropical, subtropical and some temperature regions of the western hemisphere. At present, there is no effective vaccine for T. cruzi infection. Glucan, a beta-1,3 polyglucose biological response modifier, possesses significant adjuvant activity. The present study investigated the adjuvant activity of particulate glucan when combined with a vaccine of glutaraldehyde-killed T. cruzi culture forms. ICR/HSD mice (20 g) were injected s.c. with glutaraldehyde-killed T. cruzi on days 21, 14 and 7 prior to challenge with 50 T. cruzi blood forms. Particulate glucan (1 mg/mouse) was administered s.c. either alone or in conjunction with T. cruzi vaccine. Isovolumetric dextrose served as control. Dextrose, glucan or T. cruzi vaccine as single treatment regimens showed 100% mortality with 20.5, 21.4 and 21.6 day median survival times, respectively. In contrast, glucan administered with T. cruzi vaccine showed an 85% (P less than 0.01) survival at 275 days post-challenge. In addition, the number of T. cruzi observed in the blood of glucan--T. cruzi immunized mice was lower than the appropriate controls. However, immunized mice which survived at 275 days were positive for the presence of T. cruzi by xenodiagnosis. Histopathologic evaluation of glucan--T. cruzi mice revealed no parasites or cardiac pathology, but a mild splenic hyperplasia and inflammation of skeletal muscle were noted. In subsequent studies, mice were immunized with the same regimen of glucan--T. cruzi and challenged with 500 or 5000 T. cruzi. Glucan significantly (P less than 0.05) increased survival as denoted by 60% and 50% survival in the glucan-T. cruzi group vs 0% in controls.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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