Open Access Open Badges Research

Antibody response against Trichinella spiralis in experimentally infected rats is dose dependent

Frits FJ Franssen1*, Manoj Fonville1, Katsuhisa Takumi1, Isabelle Vallée2, Aurélie Grasset2, Marie A Koedam1, Piet W Wester1, Pascal Boireau2 and Joke WB van der Giessen1

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory for Zoonoses and Environmental Microbiology, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands

2 Anses, ENVA, UPEC, Laboratory for Animal Health, Joint Research Unit, Molecular Biology, Parasitic and Fungal Immunology (JRU BIPAR), Maisons-Alfort, France

For all author emails, please log on.

Veterinary Research 2011, 42:113  doi:10.1186/1297-9716-42-113

Published: 30 November 2011


Domestic pigs are the main representatives of the domestic cycle of Trichinella spiralis that play a role in transmission to humans. In Europe, backyard pigs of small household farms are the most important risks for humans to obtain trichinellosis. Rats might play a role in the transmission of Trichinella spiralis from domestic to sylvatic animals and vice versa. In order to be able to investigate the role of wild rats in the epidemiology of T. spiralis in The Netherlands, we studied the dynamics of antibody response after T. spiralis infections in experimental rats, using infection doses ranging from very low (10 muscle larvae, ML, per rat) to very high (16 000 ML per rat). To evaluate the feasibility of rats surviving high infection doses with T. spiralis, clinical and pathological parameters were quantified. Serological tools for detecting T. spiralis in rats were developed to quantitatively study the correlation between parasite load and immunological response. The results show that an infection dose-dependent antibody response was developed in rats after infection with as low as 10 ML up to a level of 10 000 ML. A positive correlation was found between the number of recovered ML and serum antibody levels, although specific measured antibody levels correspond to a wide range of LPG values. Serum antibodies of rats that were infected even with 10 or 25 ML could readily be detected by use of the T. spiralis western blot 2 weeks post infection. We conclude that based on these low infection doses, serologic tests are a useful tool to survey T. spiralis in wild rats.