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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Immunologic cross-reactivity in the pathogenesis of ocular onchocerciasis.

PURPOSE. Onchocerca volvulus, a filarial worm, is a major cause of infectious blindness and inflammatory eye disease. An autoimmune cause for ocular onchocerciasis has been suggested since the identification of a recombinant antigen of O. volvulus that shows immunologic cross-reactivity with a host ocular component of 44,000 M(r). The aim of this study was to establish the distribution of the cross-reactive antigens in both host tissues and the parasite, and to determine if significant autoantibody responses to the host antigen could be detected in infected persons. METHODS. The tissue and organ distribution of the 44,000 M(r) antigen was determined by immunocytochemistry and Western blot analysis. Human autoantibody responses to the ocular antigen were demonstrated by Western blot analysis using sera collected from persons with onchocerciasis, with and without posterior segment pathology, Bancroftian filariasis, and Europeans with no filarial infection. RESULTS. The tissue distribution of the 44,000 M(r) antigen correlates with the sites of pathology in onchocerciasis and antibody reactivity against this antigen could be detected in all persons with onchocerciasis and posterior segment pathology. The antigen is also recognized by sera from persons with Bancroftian filariasis, but not from normal persons. CONCLUSIONS. A role is proposed for immunologic cross-reactivity in the pathogenesis of onchocerciasis and it is suggested that intraocular presentation of the cross-reactive parasite antigen by microfilariae is essential for the development of disease.[1]


  1. Immunologic cross-reactivity in the pathogenesis of ocular onchocerciasis. McKechnie, N.M., Braun, G., Connor, V., Kläger, S., Taylor, D.W., Alexander, R.A., Gilbert, C.E. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. (1993) [Pubmed]
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