Behaviour of filariae: morphological and anatomical signatures of their life style within the arthropod and vertebrate hosts

Bain, O. and Babayan, S. (2003) Behaviour of filariae: morphological and anatomical signatures of their life style within the arthropod and vertebrate hosts. Filaria Journal, 2(16), (doi:10.1186/1475-2883-2-16)

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Abstract

This paper attempts to pinpoint the most original morphological anatomical features of the biology of filariae per se and those which are or could be important for triggering regulatory processes in the arthropod vector and uncontrolled pathogenic processes in the vertebrate hosts. The following stages are considered: the motile egg or newly-hatched larva, the microfilaria, in the lymphatic or blood vessels of its vertebrate host; the larva, its migrations and its intrasyncitial development in the hematophagous arthropod subverted as vector; its transfer to the vertebrate host, migratory properties through the lymphatic system, maturation, mating and, finally, egg laying in the tissues they reach. This synthesis is based on parasite morphological features and their functional interpretation, histological features in the different niches the filariae reach, and on quantitative analyses of filarial development at its different phases, as well as on the rare and valuable observations of living parasites in situ. Data have been drawn from various species of Onchocercidae from amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. These comparative analyses have revealed the major constraints to which the filariae, including those parasitizing humans, have been subjected during their evolution from their ancestors, the oviparous and heteroxenic spirurids. Emphasis is placed on mechanical events: resistance of the microfilariae to the currents in the blood or lymph vessels, regulatory processes induced in the vector mesenteron by the movements of the ingested microfilariae, transient disruption by the microfilarial cephalic hook of the vectors' tissues and cell membranes during microfilarial translocation, attachment of males to females during mating by means of 'non-slip' systems, etc. Like other nematodes, filariae are equipped with sensory organs and a locomotor system, composed of the muscles and of the original osmoregulatory-excretory cell. Any change in one of these elements will result in the destruction of the filaria, at some stage of its development. In the vertebrate host, the intravascular stages will no longer be able to resist being carried passively towards the organs of destruction such as the lymph nodes or the lungs.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Babayan, Dr Simon
Authors: Bain, O., and Babayan, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Filaria Journal
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1475-2883
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2003 The Authors
First Published:First published in Filaria Journal 2:16
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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