Living Schistosoma mansoni schistosomula incubated with normal chicken, guinea pig, human, and monkey sera were killed after 4 hr contact at 37°C. The following data indicate that this action is dependent on the activation of the alternative complement pathway (AP): a) the inactivity of RB, RD, and zymosan-treated serum against schistosomula; b) the partial activity of RD restored in FD; c) the full effect of the C4-deficient guinea pig, C2-deficient human, and the agammaglobulinemic human sera; d) the consumption of both the AP and FB after the incubation of NHS with schistosomula; e) the detection of C3d breakdown product during the contact of the C2-deficient human serum with these young parasites.

Killing by serum was decreased as the immature schistosomes developed and was completely absent against 4-day-old lung schistosomula (LS). In other experiments, it was demonstrated that schistosomula, in the presence of IgG, were able to initiate complement activation also through the classical pathway (CP). However, the CP does not appear to play a role in the schistosomulicidal activity of complement. The in vivo relevance of these observations is considered.


This work was supported by grants from the INSERM (U 167), CNRS (ERA 422), and WHO Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases.

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