Research Article

The stimulation of immunity to Trichuris muris in mice exposed to low-level infections

D. Wakelina1

a1 Wellcome Laboratories for Experimental Parasitology, University of Glasgow, Bearsden Rd, Glasgow

Mice infected with as few as ten eggs of the nematode Trichuris muris are highly resistant to a challenge infection given 5 weeks later. The rate of elimination of challenge larvae is similar in mice immunized by infection with ten or with 300 eggs. Stimulation of immunity to challenge by the low-level infections is dependent upon the persistence of the immunizing worm population and removal of the population at day 14 considerably reduces the level of immunity. Worms developing from a low-level immunizing infection are not eliminated by a ‘self-cure’ response, as is the case with larger infections, and become sexually mature. Adult worms from such an infection are, however, eliminated by the response to a superimposed challenge infection. Repeated infection of mice with small numbers of eggs stimulates an immune response and the worm population is eliminated before patency.

(Received June 23 1972)