The ability of total homogenate (TH) of Fasciola hepatica conjugated with aluminium hydroxide (alum) or Freund's complete adjuvant (FCA) to protect cattle against experimental fasciolosis was evaluated. Compared with the infected group, the immunized animals with alum-TH and FCA-TH presented a significant reduction in fluke burden (85.9% and 96.8%, respectively), a higher percentage of short-sized worms, a marked reduction in the released eggs in faeces (89% and 57%, respectively), as well as an increased production of specific antibodies before infection. The alum-TH immunized group also showed a significant increase in the antigen-specific proliferation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) as early as 4 weeks before infection. Although both immunized groups (alum-TH and FCA-TH) were able to develop an efficient protective immune response to metacercarial challenge, an earlier PBMC response, lower hepatic damage and less effect on weight gain were found in alum-immunized animals. Therefore, alum is a good candidate for future immunization against bovine fasciolosis.
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