• Treponema pallidum;
  • Skin protection assay;
  • NRS;
  • normal rabbit serum;
  • IRS;
  • immune rabbit serum


We have recently shown that a monoclonal antibody, designated M131, that binds a surface phosphorylcholine epitope on Treponema pallidum possesses complement-dependent killing activity and confers partial protection in rabbits following passive immunization (Blanco et al., 2005, Infect. Immun. 73:3083–3095). In this study, the protective potential of M131 was further tested using the rabbit skin protection assay of Titus and Weiser. Both M131 and infection-derived immune rabbit serum resulted in significant lesion delays corresponding to at least a 90% reduction of the treponemal challenge inoculum. The skin protection assay provides a way to assess the protective potential of specific immunogens while using far less antibody than in passive immunization protocols.