Blood-feeding in the young adult filarial worms litomosoides sigmodontis

Attout, T., Babayan, S. , Hoerauf, A., Taylor, D.W., Kozek, W.J., Martin, C. and Bain, O. (2005) Blood-feeding in the young adult filarial worms litomosoides sigmodontis. Parasitology, 130(4), pp. 421-428.

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In this study with the filarial model Litomosoides sigmodontis, we demonstrate that the worms ingest host red blood cells at a precise moment of their life-cycle, immediately after the fourth moult. The red blood cells (RBC) were identified microscopically in live worms immobilized in PBS at 4 degrees C, and their density assessed. Two hosts were used: Mongolian gerbils, where microfilaraemia is high, and susceptible BALB/c mice with lower microfilaraemia. Gerbils were studied at 12 time-points, between day 9 post-inoculation (the worms were young 4th stage larvae) and day 330 p.i. (worms were old adults). Only the very young adult filarial worms had red blood cells in their gut. Haematophagy was observed between days 25 and 56 p.i. and peaked between day 28 and day 30 p.i. in female worms. In males, haematophagy was less frequent and intense. Similar kinetics of haematophagy were found in BALB/c mice, but frequency and intensity tended to be lower. Haematophagy seems useful to optimize adult maturation. These observations suggest that haematophagy is an important step in the life-cycle of L. sigmodontis. This hitherto undescribed phenomenon might be characteristic of other filarial species including human parasites.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Babayan, Dr Simon
Authors: Attout, T., Babayan, S., Hoerauf, A., Taylor, D.W., Kozek, W.J., Martin, C., and Bain, O.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Parasitology
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1469-8161
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2004 Cambridge University Press
First Published:First published in Parasitology 130(4):421-428
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the publisher

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