Adjuvant-free immunization with infective filarial larvae as lymphatic homing antigen carriers

Sci Rep. 2020 Jan 23;10(1):1055. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-57995-8.


Controlled infection with intestinal nematodes has therapeutic potential for preventing the symptoms of allergic and autoimmune diseases. Here, we engineered larvae of the filarial nematode Litomosoides sigmodontis as a vaccine strategy to induce adaptive immunity against a foreign, crosslinked protein, chicken egg ovalbumin (OVA), in the absence of an external adjuvant. The acylation of filarial proteins with fluorescent probes or biotin was not immediately detrimental to larval movement and survival, which died 3 to 5 days later. At least some of the labeled and skin-inoculated filariae migrated through lymphatic vessels to draining lymph nodes. The immunization potential of OVA-biotin-filariae was compared to that of an OVA-bound nanoparticulate carrier co-delivered with a CpG adjuvant in a typical vaccination scheme. Production of IFNγ and TNFα by restimulated CD4+ cells but not CD8+ confirmed the specific ability of filariae to stimulate CD4+ T cells. This alternative method of immunization exploits the intrinsic adjuvancy of the attenuated nematode carrier and has the potential to shift the vaccination immune response towards cellular immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage*
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Chickens
  • Egg Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Egg Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Filarioidea / genetics
  • Filarioidea / immunology*
  • Helminth Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Helminth Proteins / genetics
  • Helminth Proteins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Larva / genetics
  • Larva / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Ovalbumin / administration & dosage
  • Ovalbumin / adverse effects
  • Ovalbumin / chemistry
  • Ovalbumin / immunology*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Helminth Proteins
  • Ovalbumin