Development in vitro of the neuromusculature of two strigeid trematodes, Apatemon cobitidis proterorhini and Cotylurus erraticus

Michael Stewart, Angela Mousley, B. Koubkova, S. Sebelova, Nicola Marks, D W Halton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Confocal microscopy interfaced with cytochemical procedures has been used to monitor development of the major muscle systems and associated serotoninergic (5-HT, 5-hydroxytryptamine) and peptidergic (FaRP, FMRFamide-related peptide) innervation of the strigeid trematodes, Apatemon cobitidis proterorhini and Cotylurus erraticus during cultivation in vitro. Sexually undifferentiated metacercariae were successfully grown to ovigerous adults using tissue culture medium NCTC 135, chicken serum and egg albumen. Eggs were produced after 5 days in culture but had abnormal shells and failed to embryonate. 5-HT and FaRP (the flatworm FaRP, GYIRFamide) were localised immunocytochemically in both central and peripheral nervous systems of developing worms. During cultivation, the central serotoninergic and FaRPergic neuronal pathways of the forebody became more extensive, but retained the same basic orthogonal arrangement as found in the excysted metacercaria. Longitudinal extensor and flexor muscles of the hindbody provide support for the developing reproductive complex. The male reproductive tracts were established in advance (day 3) of those of the female system (day 4); completion of the latter was marked by the appearance of the ootype/egg chamber. The inner longitudinal muscle fibres of the female tract appeared prior to the outer and more densely arranged circular muscles. Circular fibres dominate the muscle complement of both alimentary and reproductive tracts. 5-HT- and GYIRFamide-immunoreactivities were demonstrable in the central nervous system (CNS) and subtegumental parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) throughout the culture period, but innervation of the developing reproductive structures was reactive just for 5-HT. Only at the onset of egg production was FaRP-IR observed in the reproductive system and was expressed only in the innervation of the ootype, a finding consistent with the view that FaRPs may regulate egg assembly in platyhelminths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-424
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2003


  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Female
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Muscle Development
  • Nervous System
  • Time Factors
  • Trematoda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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