Adaptive immune responses to Acanthamoeba cysts

Kathy McClellan, Kevin Howard, Elizabeth Mayhew, Jerry Y. Niederkorn, Hassan Alizadeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Acanthamoeba cysts are not eliminated from the corneas of human subjects or experimentally infected animals. The persistence of Acanthamoeba cysts in the cornea indicates that either the cysts escape immunological elimination or are not recognized by the host's immunological elements. The aim of this study was to determine the immunogenicity and antigenicity of the Acanthamoeba cyst. Mice were immunized intraperitoneally and serum anti-Acanthamoeba IgG was measured by ELISA. Lymphoproliferative assay and delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses to Acanthamoeba castellanii cyst and trophozoite antigens were used to determine the cell mediated immune responses against Acanthamoeba cysts. A. castellanii cysts were both immunogenic and antigenic, producing anti-Acanthamoeba serum IgG, T lymphocyte proliferation, and delayed type hypersensitivity responses. These results indicate that Acanthamoeba cysts are recognized by the immune system. The persistence of the organism in the human cornea means that these adaptive immune responses fail to kill Acanthamoeba cysts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-293
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Acanthamoeba
  • Cysts
  • Delayed type hypersensitivity responses
  • Lymphoproliferative responses
  • Serum IgG responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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