The coccidian parasite Cryptosporidium parvum causes diarrhea in humans, calves, and other mammals. Neither immunization nor parasite-specific pharmaceuticals that are consistently effective against this organism are available. While polyclonal antibodies against whole C. parvum reduce infection, their efficacy and predictability are suboptimal. We hypothesized that passive immunization against cryptosporidiosis could be improved by using neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) targeting functionally defined antigens on the infective stages. We previously reported that the apical complex and surface-exposed zoite antigens CSL, GP25-200, and P23 are critical in the infection process and are therefore rational targets. In the present study, a panel of 126 MAbs generated against affinity-purified CSL, GP25-200, and P23 was characterized to identify the most efficacious neutralizing MAb formulation targeting each antigen. To identify neutralizing MAbs, sporozoite infectivity following exposure to individual MAbs was assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Of 126 MAbs evaluated, 47 had neutralizing activity. These were then evaluated individually in oocyst- challenged neonatal mice, and 14 MAbs having highly significant efficacy were identified for further testing in formulations. Epitope specificity assays were performed to determine if candidate MAbs recognized the same or different epitopes. Formulations of two or three neutralizing MAbs, each recognizing distinct epitopes, were then evaluated. A formulation of MAbs 3E2 (anti-CSL [αCSL]), 3H2 (αGP25-200), and 1El0 (αP23) provided highly significant additive efficacy over that of either individual MAbs or combinations of two MAbs and reduced intestinal infection by 86 to 93%. These findings indicate that polyvalent neutralizing MAb formulations targeting epitopes on defined antigens may provide optimal passive immunization against cryptosporidiosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases