Western blot analysis of infective larvae (L3) antigen of Brugia malayi were performed on 200 sera from six groups of individuals: 36 samples from B. malayi microfilaremic individuals; 10 samples from individuals with elephantiasis; 50 and 20 samples from amicrofilaremic individuals in a B. malayi endemic area with no anti-filarial IgG4 antibodies (towards microfilaria and adult worm antigens) and samples with high titres of the anti-filarial IgG4 antibodies respectively; 50 samples from non-endemic normals and 34 samples from geohelminth-infected individuals. After protein transfer, PVDF membrane strips were successively incubated with blocking solution, human sera, monoclonal anti-human IgG4 antibody-HRP and developed with luminol chemiluminescence substrate. 28/36 (78%), 1/10 (10%) and 16/20(80%) of sera from individuals with microfilariae, elephantiasis and amicrofilaremic individuals with high titers of anti-filarial IgG4 antibodies respectively recognized L3 antigenic epitopes; the dominant and consistent antigenic bands were of approximately MW 43 kDa, 14 kDa, 15 kDa and 59 kDa. The rest of the sera were unreactive. This study showed that microfilaremics may or may not mount a notable antibody response to somatic L3 antigens, thus lending evidence that antibody response to this antigen is not protective against establishment of Brugia malayi infection.
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