A mucin-like peptide from Fasciola hepatica induces parasite-specific Th1-type cell immunity
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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.
KeywordsFasciola hepatica Vaccine Mucin-like peptide Immune response
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.
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