Three Jersey bull calves were immunized by subcutaneous injections of sonicated Onchocerca lienalis microfilariae suspended in phosphate buffered saline, and three control animals were injected with medium only. All calves received booster injections 27 days later, and were challenged with live microfilariae 44 days after the booster. Following challenge, only the immunized animals developed an elevated level of circulating eosinophils. When necropsied ten days after challenge there was a 97% reduction in recoveries of microfilariae from immunized animals compared to challenge controls. In human onchocerciasis it is the microfilariae which are the principal cause of pathology, and we believe that studies on O. lienalis in both the natural bovine host and in inbred rodents provide a promising model to investigate immunity to Onchocerca microfilariae.
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