Parasitology Research

, Volume 115, Issue 3, pp 1053–1063 | Cite as

A mucin-like peptide from Fasciola hepatica induces parasite-specific Th1-type cell immunity

  • Verónica Noya
  • Natalie Brossard
  • Patricia Berasaín
  • Ernesto Rodríguez
  • Carolina Chiale
  • Daniel Mazal
  • Carlos Carmona
  • Teresa FreireEmail author
Original Paper


Fasciolosis, caused by the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica, is a major parasitic disease of livestock that causes significant economic losses worldwide. Although drugs are effective against liver flukes, they do not prevent reinfection, and continuous treatment is costly. Moreover, resistant fluke strains are emerging. In this context, vaccination is a good alternative since it provides a cost-effective long-term prevention strategy to control fasciolosis. In this paper, we evaluate the Fhmuc peptide as a potential vaccine against fasciolosis. This peptide derives from a mucin-like protein highly expressed in the infective stage of Fasciola hepatica. Mucin-like molecules expressed by parasites can contribute to several infection processes by protecting the parasite from host proteases and recognition by the immune system. We show that the Fhmuc peptide induces Th1-like immune responses specific for F. hepatica excretion-secretion products (FhESP) with a high production of IFNγ. We also investigated whether this peptide could protect animals from infection, and present preliminary data indicating that animals treated with Fhmuc exhibited reduced liver damage compared to non-immunised animals and that this protection was associated with a recruitment of B and T lymphocytes in the peritoneum, as well as eosinophils and mature dendritic cells. These results suggest that the mucin-like peptide Fhmuc could constitute a potential vaccine candidate against fasciolosis and pave the way towards the development of vaccines against parasites.


Fasciola hepatica Vaccine Mucin-like peptide Immune response 



Dendritic cells


Hepatic lymph node


Major histocompatibility complex



We are especially thankful to the abattoirs ‘Frigorífico Carrasco’ and ‘Frigrorífico Sarubbi’ for their help with the collection of worms.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


This work was supported by grants from the Agencia Nacional de Investigación e Innovación (PR-FCE-2009-1-2782, ANII, Uruguay) and Comisión Sectorial de Investigación Científica (CSIC, Universidad de la República, Uruguay). VN and ER were supported by CSIC and ANII, respectively.

Supplementary material

436_2015_4834_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (218 kb)
ESM 1 Supplementary Figure 1. Immunophenotyping of lymphoid or myeloid cells from Fhmuc-immunised animals in absence of infection. Immunophenotype of splenocytes and PECs from Fhmuc-immunised (20 μg/mouse) or PBS-treated mice. The immunisation was i.p. on days 0 in Complete Freund’s adjuvant followed by two additional injections at days 14 and 28 in Incomplete Freund’s adjuvant. Three weeks after infection, animals were sacrificed and spleen, HLN or PECs were removed. Cells were stained with different fluorochrome-conjugated specific antibodies and analysed by flow cytometry. Different myeloid (A) or lymphoid (B) cell populations were evaluated. Thirty thousand events were collected and gated on FSC vs SSC dot plot. Results are shown as the percentage of cells in the spleen expressed as the mean value of eight replicates (±SD, indicated by error bars) and are representative of two different experiments. Asterisks (*) represent statistically significant differences (p < 0.05). Supplementary Figure 2. Amino acid sequence alignment of the Fhmuc peptide and the B5 peptide from cathepsin B. Sequence alignment of the Fhmuc peptide and the B5 peptide from Cathepsin B3 (GenBank accession number ABU62925.1 (sequence ISEIRDQSSTSSTWAVSSAS). The alignment was performed by ClustalW. Gaps have been inserted to maximise amino acid identity. Fully conserved residues are marked with (*), residues with strongly similar properties with (:) and weakly similar properties with (.). The B5 peptide sequence was reported by Rojas-Caraballo et al. (2014). (PDF 217 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Verónica Noya
    • 1
  • Natalie Brossard
    • 1
  • Patricia Berasaín
    • 2
  • Ernesto Rodríguez
    • 1
  • Carolina Chiale
    • 1
  • Daniel Mazal
    • 3
  • Carlos Carmona
    • 2
  • Teresa Freire
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.UdelaR, Facultad de MedicinaDepartamento de Inmunobiología, Group of Immunomodulation and Vaccine DevelopmentMontevideoUruguay
  2. 2.UdelaR, Facultad de Ciencias, Instituto de HigieneDepartamento de Biología Celular y Molecular, Unidad de Biología ParasitariaMontevideoUruguay
  3. 3.Udelar, Facultad de MedicinaHospital de Clínicas, Cátedra de Anatomía PatológicaMontevideoUruguay

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