Research Article

Cross-immunity to Schistosoma mansoni and S. haematobium in the hamster

M. A. Smitha1 p1, J. A. Clegga1 p1 and G. Webbea1

a1 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Winches Farm Field Station, St Albans, Herts, and National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, NW7 1AA


Hamsters (WO strain) with a primary infection of Schistosoma mansoni or S. haematobium rapidly developed immunity to homologous challenge judged by the lung recovery assay. Immunity was detected at 4–5 weeks and reached a plateau 6 weeks after infection.

Using this information, hamsters with an 8-week primary infection with S. mansoni or S. haematobium were tested for resistance to homologous reinfection and resistance to a challenge with the other species of schistosome. Primary infection with S. mansoni or S. haematobium conferred a high level of immunity to reinfection with either species of schistosome judged by the perfusion assay, involving recovery of adult worms 6–10 weeks following challenge. Estimation of the level of immunity with the lung recovery assay, 5 days after challenge, indicated that immunity due to a primary infection with S.mansoni acted at or before migration of the challenge through the lungs but immunity stimulated by a primary S. haematobium infection was only partially effective at the lung stage and substantial destruction of challenging organisms occurred at a later stage of development.

Antibodies in immune sera of hamsters with a primary S. mansoni or S. haematobium infection were shown to bind to common antigens on the surface of young schistosomula of either species by u.v. microscopy using as detecting agent a fluorescein-labelled rabbit antiserum directed against hamster globulins.

(Received February 26 1976)


p1 Welleome Research Laboratories, Langley Court, Beckenham, Kent BR3 3BS.


† G.W. from the Tropical Medicine Research Board through the Overseas Development Administration.