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Aquaporin (SmAQP) is the most abundant transmembrane protein in the tegument of Schistosoma mansoni. This protein is expressed in all developmental stages and seems to be essential in parasite survival since it plays a crucial role in osmoregulation, nutrient transport and drug uptake. In this study, we utilized the murine model to evaluate whether this protein was able to induce protection against challenge infection with S. mansoni cercariae. A chimeric (c) SmAQP was formulated with Freund's adjuvant for vaccination trial and evaluation of the host's immune response was performed. Our results demonstrated that immunization with cSmAQP induced the production of high levels of specific anti-cSmAQP IgG antibodies and a Th1/Th17 type of immune response characterized by IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-17 cytokines. However, vaccination of mice with cSmAQP failed to reduce S. mansoni worm burden and liver pathology. Finally, we were unable to detect humoral immune response anti-cSmAQP in the sera of S. mansoni-infected human patients. Our results lead us to believe that SmAQP, as formulated in this study, may not be a good target in the search for an anti-schistosomiasis vaccine.
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