Immunohistochemical and ultrastructural evidence for Neospora caninum tissue cysts in skeletal muscles of naturally infected dogs and cattle

Peters, M.; Lutkefels, E.; Heckeroth, A. R.; Schares, Gereon GND

Protozoan stages were detected in the skeletal Muscles of four dogs suffering front neosporosis and two neonatal calves with confirmed Neospora caninum- infection which could be immunohistochemically labelled by an antiserum against the bradyzoite-specific antigen BAG-5. In one calf, a tissue cyst was labelled by an antiserum against the N. caninum isolate NC-1. Ultrastructurally, a 0.3-1 mum-thick cyst wall surrounded the labelled parasites. The cysts were located within myofibres and contained varying numbers of bradyzoites each measuring 5.2(+/-0.6) X 1.6(+/-0.3) mum. The encysted stages showed typical ultrastructural features of N. caninum bradyzoites with subterminal nuclei, electron-dense rhoptries, and micronemes that were orientated perpendicular to the zoite pellicle. Immunohistochemistry and serology did not reveal any evidence for co-infection with Toxoplasma gondii. The detection of tissue cysts in skeletal muscle of N. caninum-infected intermediate hosts is of major epidemiological importance for the understanding of how definitive or intermediate carnivorous hosts become infected with N. caninum.

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Peters, M. / Lutkefels, E. / Heckeroth, A. R. / et al: Immunohistochemical and ultrastructural evidence for Neospora caninum tissue cysts in skeletal muscles of naturally infected dogs and cattle. 2001.

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