Original Paper

Parasitology Research

, Volume 81, Issue 1, pp 66-73

First online:

Light and electron microscopy studies onOnchocerca jakutensis andO. flexuosa of red deer show different host-parasite interactions

  • Anita Plenge-BönigAffiliated withAbteilung Helminthologie, Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin
  • , M. KrömerAffiliated withAbteilung Helminthologie, Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin
  • , D. W. BüttnerAffiliated withAbteilung Helminthologie, Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin

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Adult filariae of two intranodularOnchocerca species of red deer (Cervus elaphus) were examined at the ultrastructural level. In all, 90 nodules ofO. flexuosa and 20 nodules ofO. jakutensis were studied by histology,O. jakutensis caused cystic and pus-filled nodules in which the female and male worms were motile. Female worms possessed a thick cuticle and a well-developed somatic musculature. The basal lamina of the muscular syncytia was connected with the transhypodermal fibers through long protrusions. The epicuticle had only few protuberances and no visible surface coat. FemaleO. flexuosa showed morphological features similar to those of other intranodular filariae. A surface coat could not be detected. In 24% of 33 nodules with young live female worms and 40% of 38 nodules with older live femaleO. flexuosa the worms were surrounded by giant cells apparently attacking a cuticle. This was found even in nodules obtained from animals no older than 9 months. It is probable that the lack of a surface coat protecting the female worm and the inability to move due to the reduced somatic muscles lead to an early elimination ofO. flexuosa by the host's immune system.