Author(s): Freeman RR
The response of BALB/c mice to immunization with a 230,000 mol. wt protective antigen purified from the blood stages of Plasmodium yoelii was analysed. The protective response to immunization was adjuvant-dependent, and saponin was found to be the most effective adjuvant tested. The intraperitoneal route was found to be superior to the subcutaneous route for protective immunization. Maximal protection was achieved using two immunizations with greater than 12.5 micrograms of antigen plus saponin, but even under these conditions challenge infection developed normally for 5 days, followed by the appearance of crisis forms and rapid clearance of parasites. Effective immunization induced high antibody titres, but serum from immunized mice was not protective on passive transfer. On the other hand, hyperimmune serum from mice recovered and rechallenged with live P. yoelii was protective on passive transfer, even though the titre of antibody specific for the 230,000 mol. wt antigen in this serum was the same as that in the serum from mice immunized with the purified antigen. It was concluded that the 230,000 mol. wt antigen may provide protection against P. yoelii via the cell-mediated immune effector pathway described by Playfair et al. (1979), and that hyperimmune serum contains protective antibodies specific for P. yoelii antigens other than the 230,000 mol. wt antigen.