Adult Onchocerca voluvlus and infective larvae, but not microfilariae contain an immunodominant antigen (33,000 and 21,000 Mr in females, 39,000, 33,000, and 21,000 Mr in males, 133,000 Mr in infective larvae) which is recognized by an Onchocerca-specific mAb. The component is part of the reproductive organs and muscles. 96.2% of onchocerciasis sera contained antibodies detectable by immunoblotting against it. Antigen purified by immunoaffinity chromatography was specifically recognized in immunoblots by onchocerciasis sera, but not by sera from other filarial infections. The high immunogenicity, the specificity, and the occurrence in infective larvae of this antigen indicate an immunodiagnostic potential and a possible role in the immunobiology of the parasite.

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