Schistosoma mansoni schistosomula recovered from the lungs of inbred mice were shown to possess serologically detectable alloantigens on their tegumental surfaces. Using appropriate antisera and infected congenic and recombinant mice as worm donors, gene products of the K and I subregions of the major histocompatibility complex were demonstrated among these alloantigens acquired by the parasites. In contrast, other cell surface alloantigens, such as Thy 1, Ly 1, and H-Y and the serum proteins albumin, C3 and Ig, could not be detected on the surface of lung schistosomula by means of comparable techniques. In another series of experiments, schistosomula recovered from the lungs of mice and reinjected into allogeneic recipients were shown to exchange their alloantigens during an 87-h period of examination. Similarly, lung schistosomula cocultured with allogeneic lymphocytes were shown to acquire major histocompatibility complex (MHC) coded antigens from the cells. It is possible that as acquired host molecules, MHC gene products may disguise the surface of schistosome parasites thereby rendering them insusceptible to immune attack.

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