Humoral and cellular immune responses to adult antigens of Dirofilaria immitis were evaluated in experimentally infected dogs during the chronic phase of infection. All infected dogs had significantly elevated IgG (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and IgE (passive cutaneous anaphylaxis) titers against D. immitis adult antigens. However, there was little difference between infected dogs and uninfected controls in cellular-immune responses to D. immitis adult antigen or phytohemagglutinin as assessed by the lymphocyte transformation assay. Although neither cellular nor humoral responses correlated with worm burdens, cellular responses among infected dogs correlated inversely with IgG titers to D. immitis adult antigen. These results are consistent with observations in other nematode and trematode systems which suggest that in chronic tissue helminth infections there is suppression of cellular immune responses to parasite antigens while humoral responses to the same antigens remain relatively preserved.
- Dirofilaria immitis
- Dog, beagle
- Immunosorbent assay, enzyme-linked
- Nematode, parasitic