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Parasitol Res. 1996;82(4):297-303.

Immunity to Plasmodium berghei exoerythrocytic forms derived from irradiated sporozoites.

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Department of Protozoology, Institut of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium.


The nature of immunity generated by Plasmodium berghei exoerythrocytic (EE) stages developing from irradiated sporozoites was studied using in vivo parameters of host protection on immunization with irradiated sporozoites and in vitro parameters of inhibition of sporozoite invasion and EE form development by serum antibodies from immunized mice. On in vivo challenge of immunized mice by sporozoites, protection was observed in an irradiation-dose-dependent manner. This finding stresses that protection is dependent on the irradiation dose of sporozoites that allows sporozoite penetration yet controls EE form development within the liver. Using the human hepatoma line Hep G2 as host cells in vitro, we observed that serum antibodies raised in mice immunized with irradiated sporozoites reacted with sporozoite- and hepatic-stage parasites in an immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT). No reactivity was observed with blood-stage parasites. Serum antibodies from mice immunized with 6- to 18-krad-irradiated sporozoites inhibited sporozoite invasion and caused severe inhibition of EE form development in hepatoma cells, pointing to the antigenic content of EE forms developing from irradiated sporozoites (irra EE forms) as critical immunogens. Moreover, in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), serum antibodies raised to 12-krad-irradiated sporozoites showed reactivity to synthetic peptides representing the conserved Region II sequences of the P. falciparum circumsporozoite (CS) protein as well as the P. falciparum liver-stage-specific antigen (LSA-1)-based repeat sequences, thus implicating an important role for both the sporozoite and the hepatic stage in protection.

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