Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Jeffrey R. Laursen


The potential transfer of resistance against the rat tapeworm, Hymenolepis diminuta, from adult BALB/c mice to their young, was tested by comparing the worm burdens of 24 experimentally infected pups from previously infected females to 14 experimentally infected pups from uninfected females. The mean number of worms recovered, mean weight of recovered worms and frequency of mice pups with eggs of the parasite in their feces were significantly lower in infected pups from infected mothers than in infected pups from uninfected mothers. The lower worm burden observed in the infected pups from infected mothers suggested that the resistance to H. diminuta in mice was transferred to their young at birth.

Although cellular immunity has been suggested to be of primary importance in the immune response, results of an ELISA test has shown that infection also stimulated humoral response in neonates. Worm-specific IgG was found to be transferred transplacentally and transmammary from females to neonates during gestation and lactation and also produced in infected pups, but the titer in serum was not significantly related to resistance.