Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

PLOS ONE: Neglected Tropical Diseases





DOI of Original Publication


Date of Submission

November 2016


Cryptosporidium is a major cause of severe diarrhea, especially in malnourished children. Using a murine model of C. parvum oocyst challenge that recapitulates clinical features of severe cryptosporidiosis during malnutrition, we interrogated the effect of protein malnutrition (PM) on primary and secondary responses to C. parvum challenge, and tested the differential ability of mucosal priming strategies to overcome the PM-induced susceptibility. We determined that while PM fundamentally alters systemic and mucosal primary immune responses to Cryptosporidium, priming with C. parvum (106 oocysts) provides robust protective immunity against re-challenge despite ongoing PM. C. parvum priming restores mucosal Th1-type effectors (CD3+CD8+CD103+ T-cells) and cytokines (IFNγ, and IL12p40) that otherwise decrease with ongoing PM. Vaccination strategies with Cryptosporidium antigens expressed in the S. Typhi vector 908htr, however, do not enhance Th1-type responses to C. parvum challenge during PM, even though vaccination strongly boosts immunity in challenged fully nourished hosts. Remote non-specific exposures to the attenuated S. Typhi vector alone or the TLR9 agonist CpG ODN-1668 can partially attenuate C. parvum severity during PM, but neither as effectively as viable C. parvum priming. We conclude that although PM interferes with basal and vaccine-boosted immune responses to C. parvum, sustained reductions in disease severity are possible through mucosal activators of host defenses, and specifically C. parvum priming can elicit impressively robust Th1-type protective immunity despite ongoing protein malnutrition. These findings add insight into potential correlates of Cryptosporidium immunity and future vaccine strategies in malnourished children.


Copyright: © 2016 Bartelt et al.

Is Part Of

VCU Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Publications (1089 kB)