In the search for a leishmaniasis vaccine, extensive studies have been carried out with promastigote (insect stage) molecules. Information in this regard on amastigote (mammalian host stage) molecules is limited. To investigate host immune responses to Leishmania amastigote antigens, we purified three stage-specific antigens (A2, P4, and P8) from in vitro- cultivated amastigotes of Leishmania pifanoi by using immunoaffinity chromatography. We found that with Corynebacterium parvum as an adjuvant, three intraperitoneal injections of 5 μg of P4 or P8 antigen provided partial tn complete protection of BALB/c mice challenged with 105 to 107 L. pifanoi promastigotes. These immunized mice developed significantly smaller or no lesions and exhibited a 39- to 1.6 x 105-fold reduction of lesion parasite burden after 15 to 20 weeks of infection. In addition, P8 immunization resulted in complete protection against L. amazonensis infection of CBA/J mice and partial protection of BALB/c mice, suggesting that this antigen provided cross-species protection of mice with different H-2 haplotypes. At different stages during infection, vaccinated mice exhibited profound proliferative responses to parasite antigens and increased levels of gamma interferon production, suggesting that a Th1 cell-mediated immune response is associated with the resistance in these mice. Taken together, the data in this report indicate the vaccine potential of amastigote-derived antigens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases