Direct administration of plasmid DNA encoding an antigen represents an attractive approach to vaccination against infectious diseases, particularly in developing countries where easy-to-handle and cost-effective vaccines are needed. We have investigated the potential of DNA immunization to induce a specific antibody response against Schistosoma mansoni, using plasmid-DNA encoding the protective antigen, S. mansoni 28 kDa glutathione S-transferase (Sm28GST). Since S. mansoni parasite penetrates into its host through the skin, this tissue was chosen for plasmid DNA delivery. Following plasmid DNA administration into the skin of rats, the parasite antigen was detected in skin cells by immunohistochemistry. Three administrations of 200 micrograms plasmid at 14 day intervals led to the induction of a long-lasting specific IgG antibody response in the sera of immunized rats, with a predominance of IgG2a and IgG2b subclasses. Sera of immunized animals were able to mediate antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity in vitro, leading to the specific killing of parasite larvae. A parasite challenge performed on plasmid DNA-immunized animals induced a strong and rapid boosting effect on the specific IgG antibody response. These results demonstrate the potential of genetic immunization via the skin with plasmid DNA encoding Sm28GST for inducing immune responses with protective patterns against an S. mansoni infection.