Skip to main content

Migration behaviour and pathogenesis of five ascarid nematode species in the Mongolian gerbil Meriones unguiculatus

  • S. Cho (a1), M. Egami (a2), H. Ohnuki (a2), Y. Saito (a1), S. Chinone (a1), K. Shichinohe (a3), M. Suganuma (a3) and N. Akao (a2)...

To understand the characteristic features of the Mongolian gerbil, Meriones unguiculatus, as an animal model of ascarid infections, the migration behaviour and pathogenesis of larvae were investigated in experimentally infected gerbils. Embryonated eggs from each of Toxocara canis,Baylisascaris procyonis, B. transfuga, Ascaris suum, and A. lumbricoides were orally inoculated into gerbils and larvae were recovered from various organs at designated periods. In T. canis-infected gerbils, larvae were present in the liver 3 days after infection and in the skeletal muscle and brain via the heart and lungs at a similar rate. In B. procyonis- and B. transfuga-infected gerbils, larvae were present in the lungs within 24 h after infection, with some having reached the brain by that time. After 24 h, larvae of B. procyonis tended to accumulate in the brain, while those of B. transfuga accumulated in skeletal muscles. In A. suum- and A. lumbricoides-infected gerbils, larvae remained in the liver on day 5 post-infection and elicited pulmonary haemorrhagic lesions, which disappeared 7 days after initial infection. Thereafter, no larvae of any type were recovered. Ocular manifestations were frequently observed in T. canis- and B. procyonis infected gerbils, but were rare in B. transfuga-infected gerbils. In the cases of A. suum and A. lumbricoides, migration to the central nervous system and eyes was extremely rare, and larvae had disappeared by 2 weeks post-infection. Fatal neurological disturbances were observed in B. procyonis-infected gerbils, whereas irreversible non-fatal neurological symptoms were observed in the case of B. transfuga.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence Fax: +81 3 5684 2849 E-mail:
Hide All
Akao, N., Takayanagi, T.H., Suzuki, R., Tsukidate, S. & Fujita, K. (2000) Ocular larva migrans caused by Toxocara cati in Mongolian gerbils and a comparison of ophthalmologic findings with those produced by T. canis. Journal of Parasitology 86, 11331135.
Akao, N., Hayashi, E., Sato, H., Fujita, K. & Furuoka, H. (2003) Diffuse retinochoroiditis due to Baylisascaris procyonis in Monglian gerbils. Journal of Parasitology 89, 174175.
Aragane, K., Akao, N., Matsuyama, T., Sugita, M., Natsuaki, M. & Kitada, O. (1999) Fever, cough, and nodules on ankles. Lancet 354, 1872.
Ash, L.R. & Riley, J.M. (1970) Development of Brugia pahangi in the jird, Meriones unguiculatus, with notes on infections in other rodents. Journal of Parasitology 56, 962–968.
Chadee, K. & Meerovitch, E. (1984) The Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) as an experimental host for Entamoeba histolytica. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygine 33, 47–54.
Fisher, M. (2003) Toxocara cati: an underestimated zoonotic agent. Trends in Parasitology 19, 167170.
Glickman, L.T. & Magnaval, J.F. (1993) Zoonotic roundworm infections. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America 7, 717732.
Glickman, L.T., Magnaval, J.F., Domanski, L.M., Shofer, F.S., Lauria, S.S., Gottstein, B. & Brochier, B. (1987) Visceral larva migrans in French adults: a new disease syndrome? American Journal of Epidemiology 125, 10191034.
Horii, Y., Khan, A.I. & Nawa, Y. (1993) Persistent infection of Strongyloides venezuelensis and normal expulsion of Nippostrongylus brasiliensis in Mongolian gerbils, Meriones unguiculatus, with reference to the cellular responses in the intestinal mucosa. Parasite Immunology 15, 175–179.
Huff, D.S., Neafie, R.C., Binder, M.J., De Leon, G.A., Brown, L.W. & Kazacos, K.R. (1984) Case 4. The first fatal Baylisascaris infection in humans: an infant with eosinophilic meningoencephalitis. Pediatric Pathology 2, 345352.
Kuchle, M., Knorr, H.L., Medenblik-Frysch, S., Weber, A., Bauer, C. & Naumann, G.O. (1993) Diffuse unilateral subacute neuroretinitis syndrome in a German most likely caused by the raccoon roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis. Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology 231, 48–51.
Maruyama, H., Nawa, Y., Noda, S., Mimori, T. & Choi, W.Y. (1996) An outbreak of visceral larva migrans due to Ascaris suum in Kyushu, Japan. Lancet 347, 17661767.
Moertel, C.L., Kazacos, K.R., Butterfield, J.H., Kita, H., Watterson, J. & Gleich, G.J. (2001) Eosinophil-associated inflammation and elaboration of eosinophil-derived proteins in two children with raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis) encephalitis. Pediatrics 108, E93.
Nolan, T.J., Megyeri, Z., Bhopale, V.M. & Schad, G.A. (1993) Strongyloides stercoralis: the first rodent model for uncomplicated and hyperinfective strongyloidiasis, the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus). Journal of Infectious Diseases 168, 1479–1484.
Olson, L.J. (1962) Organ disturbution of Toxocara canis larvae in normal mice and in mice previously infected with Toxocara, Ascaris or Trichinella. Texas Reports on Biology and Medicine 20, 651657.
Oshima, T. (1961) Standardization of techniques for infecting mice with Toxocara canis and observations on the normal migration routes of the larvae. Journal of Parasitology 47, 652–656.
Osoegawa, M., Matsumoto, S., Ochi, H., Yamasaki, K., Horiuchi, I., Kira, Y.O., Ishiwata, K., Nakamura-Uchiyama, F. & Nawa, Y. (2001) Localised myelitis caused by visceral larva migrans due to Ascaris suum masquerading as an isolated spinal cord tumour. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 70, 265–266.
Sakakibara, A., Baba, K., Niwa, S., Yagi, T., Wakayama, H., Yoshida, K., Kobayashi, T., Yokoi, T., Hara, K., Itoh, M. & Kimura, E. (2002) Visceral larva migrans due to Ascaris suum which presented with eosinophilic pneumonia and multiple intra-hepatic lesions with severe eosinophil infiltration – outbreak in a Japanese area other than Kyushu. Internal Medicine 41, 574–579.
Sato, H., Furuoka, H. & Kamiya, H. (2002) First outbreak of Baylisascaris procyonis larva migrans in rabbits in Japan. Parasitology International 51, 105–108.
Sato, H., Matsuo, K., Osanai, A., Kamiya, H., Akao, N., Owaki, S. & Furuoka, H. (2004) Larva migrans by Baylisascaris transfuga: fatal neurological diseases in Mongolian jirds, but not in mice. Journal of Parasitology 90, 774781.
Slotved, H.C., Eriksen, L., Murrell, K.D. & Nansen, P. (1997) Comparison of methods for recovery of Ascaris suum larvae from tissues of mice. International Journal for Parasitology 27, 13051310.
Slotved, H.C., Eriksen, L., Murrell, K.D. & Nansen, P. (1998) Early Ascaris suum migration in mice as a model for pigs. Journal of Parasitology 84, 16–18.
Sprent, J.F.A. (1952) On the migratory behavior of the larvae of various Ascaris species in white mice. 1. Distribution of larvae in tissue. Journal of Infectious Diseases 90, 165–176.
Takayanagi, T.H., Akao, N., Suzuki, R., Tomoda, M., Tsukidate, S. & Fujita, K. (1999) New animal model for human ocular toxocariasis: ophthalmoscopic observation. British Journal of Ophthalmology 83, 967972.
Wise, M.E., Sorvillo, F.J., Shafir, S.C., Ash, L.R. & Berlin, O.G. (2005) Severe and fatal central nervous system disease in humans caused by Baylisascaris procyonis, the common roundworm of raccoons: a review of current literature. Microbes and Infection 7, 317323.
Yoshida, M., Shirao, Y., Asai, H., Nagase, H., Nakamura, H., Okazawa, T., Kondo, K., Takayanagi, T.H., Fujita, K. & Akao, N. (1999) A retrospective study of ocular toxocariasis in Japan: correlation with antibody prevalence and ophthalmological findings of patients with uveitis. Journal of Helminthology 73, 357–361.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Helminthology
  • ISSN: 0022-149X
  • EISSN: 1475-2697
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-helminthology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed