A preparation of nonliving parasite antigens containing both soluble and particulate components of frozen-and-thawed invasive larvae was used to immunize C57BL/6J mice against challenge Schistosoma mansoni infection. The method of antigen presentation was observed to be critical to the ability of this preparation to induce protective immunity, because intradermal administration in conjunction with a bacterial adjuvant (BCG) resulted in strong protection against challenge parasites (51% reduction in worm burden in six experiments), whereas i.v. injection of the same antigenic preparation was completely ineffective. Induction of resistance was accompanied by specific immune responsiveness toward schistosome antigens. Protection correlated more closely with sensitization for specific delayed hypersensitivity than with elicitation of circulating antibodies to larval surface antigens or immediate hypersensitivity in these models. These results suggest that it will be possible to design a defined vaccine against S. mansoni infection, but that identification of the route of antigen presentation that most effectively elicits relevant immune effector mechanisms will be crucial to the success of any vaccination protocol involving nonliving antigens.

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