Antigen shedding from the surface of the infective stage larvae of Dirofilaria immitis

M. S. Ibrahim, W. K. Tamashiro, D. A. Moraga, A. L. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


A qualitative and quantitative analysis was made of the release of surface-associated molecules from developing Dirofilaria immitis infective-stage larvae (L3). D. immitis L3s were labelled with 125I using an Iodogen catalysed reaction and either maintained in culture or placed in chambers that were implanted into Lewis rats. The larvae released 10–20 °0 of the labelled material each day during the first 4 days of in vitro and in vivo development. The loss of surface-labelled peptides from developing larvae corresponded with an increase in the amount of trichloroacetic acid-precipitable radioactivity found in the culture medium. SDS-PAGE analysis of the labelled material showed that the same 35 and 6 kDa components found in larval extracts were shed into culture medium by the developing parasites. Metabolic labelling studies and experiments in which larvae were labelled after different times in culture indicated that, once released, the surface-associated molecules were not replaced, and that this net loss of surface peptides resulted in a reduction in the antigenic potential of the cuticular surface. Antibodies from both immunized rabbits and naturally infected dogs immuno-precipitated the 35 kDa component. In contrast, the 6 kDa molecule was not recognized by the antibodies in any of the sera tested. Shedding of surface peptides and reducing surface antigenicity may represent mechanisms by which D. immitis infective-stage larvae evade immune attack.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989


  • Dirofilaria immitis
  • antigen shedding
  • evasion of the immune response
  • infective-stage larvae
  • surface-associated antigens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Infectious Diseases


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