Neuropeptides, biogenic amines and acetylcholine are expressed abundantly within the nervous systems of parasitic flatworms, and are particularly evident in the innervation of the musculature. Such associations have implicated the nervous system in locomotion, host attachment and reproductive co-ordination. Information on the muscle systems of parasitic flatworms is generally sparse, in particular those muscles associated with the reproductive system, intestinal tract and attachment apparatus. Also, the use of sectioned material has left description of the 3-dimensional organization of the musculature largely unrecorded. Using fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labelled phalloidin as a site-specific probe for filamentous actin, applied to whole-mount preparations of adult Fasciola hepatica and examined by confocal scanning laser microscopy, the present work reports on the organization of the major muscle systems in this trematode parasite. A highly regular array of outer circular, intermediate longitudinal and inner diagonal fibres distinguishes the body wall musculature, which is also involved in the development of both ventral and oral suckers. Circular fibres dominate the duct walls of the male and female reproductive systems, whereas the muscles of the intestinal tract have a somewhat diffuse arrangement of fibres. An understanding of the structural complexity of the muscle systems of parasitic flatworms is considered as fundamental to the interpretation of results from physiological experiments.
|Number of pages||8|
|Publication status||Published - 1998|
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