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On the invasion of the central nervous system by nematodes I. The Incidence and pathological significance of nematodes in the central nervous system

  • J. F. A. Sprent (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 2009

A wide variety of nematode species have been observed to invade the central nervous system. They may be located in the meningeal spaces or may penetrate into the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.

The pathological changes resulting from invasion of the central nervous system are influenced by the route of entry, the size and the mobility of the parasite. They may be diffuse or focal and may include haemorrhage, degenerative changes, cellular infiltration and glial proliferation. Such changes may or may not be observed in close association with the parasite.

Symptoms indicating involvement of the central nervous system have long been associated with nematode infections outside the central nervous system. The pathogenesis of these symptoms is obscure, but they may possibly be of allergic origin.

The direct pathological effects on the central nervous system are mainly the result of trauma and are directly proportional to the size and activity of the parasite. The possibility that nematodes may transport viruses into the central nervous system is briefly discussed.

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