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Vaccination against Fasciola hepatica using cathepsin L3 and B3 proteases delivered alone or in combination

Wesołowska, Agnieszka, Basałaj, Katarzyna, Norbury, Luke J, Sielicka, Alicja, Wędrychowicz, Halina, Zawistowska-Deniziak, Anna
Veterinary parasitology 2018 v.250 pp. 15-21
Fasciola hepatica, animal models, antibodies, antigens, cathepsins, drug resistance, fascioliasis, immune response, immunoglobulin G, juveniles, liver, liver flukes, livestock, migratory behavior, rats, vaccination, vaccines
No licensed vaccine is currently available for prevention of Fasciola hepatica infections. However, considering the alarming increase in drug resistance, there is an urgent need for a safe and fully effective vaccine against fasciolosis. Here, we tested if cathepsins L (FhCL3-1, FhCL3-2) and B (FhCB3) secreted by juvenile liver flukes are viable vaccine targets when delivered alone or in combination in a rat model. Since control over the early immune response is crucial for parasite’s establishment in its host, it was hypothesised that targeting fluke juvenile stages may prove beneficial. Moreover, it was assumed that selected antigens will act in a cumulative manner to interfere with liver fluke migration and thereby will reduce F. hepatica infection. Recombinant FhCL3-1 and FhCL3-2 delivered alone reduced liver fluke burdens by 47 % and 63 %, respectively. A trivalent vaccine containing rFhCL3-1/CL3-2/CB3 did not increase the protective vaccine efficacy compared to the rFhCL3-2 vaccinated group (53 %), although, reductions in liver fluke wet weight (statistically significant) and liver damage score were most pronounced. Further, the highest IgG1 and IgG2a levels were seen in rFhCL3-2 vaccinated rats, the group for which the highest reduction in worm burden was demonstrated. Moreover, IgG1 and IgG2a levels in vaccinated rats were significantly elevated compared to those reported for control groups up to 4 week post-infection. While the mechanism of protection remains unknown, it appears that it depends on vaccine-induced antibodies directed against cathepsins. The obtained results imply that F. hepatica juvenile-specific cathepsins are promising vaccine candidates that induce responses that successfully target early migratory liver fluke stages. Now, the challenge is to evaluate these juvenile-specific cathepsins for use in livestock.