Schistosoma mansoni lung-stage larvae appear to not bind antibodies from radiation vaccine or infection sera in the membrane immunofluorescence test. However, treatment of ex vivo lung-stage schistosomula with methyl-β-cyclodextrin, a hydrophobic oligosaccharide that specifically extracts cholesterol from plasma membranes, induced readily detectable binding of specific antibodies in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Surface membrane antigen binding of specific antibodies was also conclusively demonstrated by quantitative absorption of anti-schistosome sera with intact ex vivo larvae. These data together suggest that confinement of lung-stage schistosomula surface membrane antigens in cholesterol-rich sites allows only monovalent antibody binding, which can be detected by absorption and not by direct serology.

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