Fasciola hepatica: Comparative effects of host resistance and parasite intra-specific interactions on size and reproductive histology in flukes from rats infected with isolates differing in triclabendazole sensitivity

Ronnie Hanna, A.W. Gordon, Sandra Moffett, D Edgar, L.F. Oliver, Jg McConnell, Ann Shaw, Gerard Brennan, Ian Fairweather

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The efficacies of putative fasciolicides and vaccines against Fasciola hepatica are frequently monitored in clinical and field trials by determination of fluke egg output in host faeces and by worm counts in the host liver at autopsy. Less often used are parameters based on fluke size and histology, yet these can provide important indications of specific effects on the development of particular germ-line or somatic tissues, especially in relation to the timing and profligacy of egg production. In this study. F. hepatica metacercariae of two distinct isolates, the triclabendazole (TCBZ)-sensitive Cullompton isolate and the TCBZ-resistant Oberon isolate, were administered to rats as single-isolate or mixed-isolate infections. At autopsy 16 weeks later individual adult flukes were counted, measured and the reproductive organs were examined histologically. The degree of development of the testis tubules in each fluke was represented by a numerical score, based on the proportion of the histological section profiles occupied by testis tissue. The level of anti-F. hepatica antibody in the serum of each rat was determined by ELISA. It was found that Cullompton flukes were significantly larger than Oberon flukes, and that significantly more Cullompton metacercariae developed to adults than Oberon metacercariae. The Cullompton flukes showed histological evidence of aspermy and spermatogenic arrest, which was reflected in quantitatively reduced testicular development, as compared with the Oberon isolate. In Cullompton flukes, parthenogenetic egg development is implied. The size of Cullompton and Oberon flukes was significantly related to the number of adult flukes recovered, to the number of metacercariae administered, and to the percentage success of infection. The testis development score in both isolates was significantly related to the number of adult flukes recovered but not to the number of metacercariae administered, or to the percentage success of infection. Fluke size was positively related to testis score for both isolates, and a significant negative relationship was found between percentage success of infection and metacercarial dose. The results are interpreted in terms of differing interactions between various numbers of young flukes and host immunity during invasion of and migration in the hepatic parenchyma, and of fluke intra-specific (possibly pheromonal) stimulatory effects in the final stages of development, within the host bile ducts. No significant relationships were found between host antibody levels and fluke size or testis score. False positive serological reactions were found in some rats that had been infected, but found to harbour no flukes at autopsy. Clearly the act of eliminating the flukes involved generation of an immune response. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-263
Number of pages13
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Volume178
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)

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