Taenia solium cysticercosis is a common parasitic infection of humans and pigs. We evaluated the posttreatment evolution of circulating parasite-specific antigen titers in 693 consecutive blood samples from 50 naturally infected cysticercotic pigs, which received different regimes of antiparasitic drugs (N = 39, 7 groups), prednisone (N = 5), or controls (N = 6). Samples were collected from baseline to week 10 after treatment, when pigs were euthanized and carefully dissected at necropsy. Antigen levels decreased proportionally to the efficacy of treatment and correlated with the remaining viable cysts at necropsy (Pearson's p = 0.67, P = 0.000). A decrease of 5 times in antigen levels (logarithmic scale) compared with baseline was found in 20/26 pigs free of cysts at necropsy, compared with 1/24 of those who had persisting viable cysts (odds ratio [OR] = 76.7, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 8.1-3308.6, P < 0.001). Antigen monitoring reflects the course of infection in the pig. If a similar correlation exists in infected humans, this assay may provide a minimally invasive and easy monitoring assay to assess disease evolution and efficacy of antiparasitic treatment in human neurocysticercosis.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.