The efficacy of a new vaccination procedure against Schistosoma mansoni, involving intradermal injection of nonliving antigen combined with the bacterial adjuvant Mycobacterium bovis strain bacillus Calmette Guérin, was tested in several strains of mice. Development of protection against subsequent infection was compared with in vivo skin test reactivity and in vitro humoral reactivity to soluble and surface-associated schistosome antigens. Significant levels of resistance and immune response were displayed by many inbred mouse strains, including C57BL/6J, C3H/HeN, and CBA/J, as well as outbred Swiss-Webster mice. However, no definite correlation was observed between the level of any particular immune response and the level of resistance to challenge S. mansoni infection. Development of protective immunity was also examined in mice with various immune defects, to determine whether these responses are relevant to resistance in this model. Animals with defective specific immediate hypersensitivity response due to deficiencies in IgE (SJL/J) or mast cell (W/Wv) production displayed strong resistance as a result of immunization. Likewise, mice bearing the lpsd (C3H/HeJ) or xid (CBA/N) mutations, affecting cellular or humoral response to certain thymus-independent antigens, developed significant levels of resistance after immunization. A/J mice, with defects in cellular recognition of bacterial endotoxin as well as deficiencies in natural killer cell activity and complement function, also showed significant protective immunity. Thus, these reactivities do not appear to be essential to the resistance against S. mansoni induced by the nonliving vaccine. Two nonresponder strains were identified, P and BALB/c. P mice were defective in specific delayed hypersensitivity response as well as resistance to infection. However, BALB/c mice showed no obvious immune deficiencies at the time of challenge. These results agreed with previous findings in mice immunized by exposure to radiation-attenuated cercariae with one exception; BALB/c mice were protected by vaccination with irradiated cercariae but not by the nonliving vaccine. Thus, further examination of immune response in mice identified in this study as high and low responder strains should allow characterization of critical immune resistance mechanisms induced by the nonliving vaccine, as well as immune mechanisms operating in common between these two models of resistance to S. mansoni.

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