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Distribution and histopathological changes induced by cysts of Taenia solium in the brain of pigs from Tanzania

Mkupasi, E.M., Ngowi, H.A., Sikasunge, C.S., Leifsson, P.S., Johansen, M.V.
Journal of helminthology 2015 v.89 no.5 pp. 559-564
Taenia solium, cerebellum, consciousness, frontal lobe, histopathology, inflammation, neurocysticercosis, somnolence, spinal cord, swine, Tanzania
Neurocysticercosis (NCC) caused by Taenia solium cysts is a frequent but neglected parasitic disease of the central nervous system (CNS) worldwide. The aim of this study was to describe anatomical locations of cysts in the CNS and the corresponding inflammation. A total of 17 naturally infected pigs were used to evaluate the distribution of cysts and, of these, seven were used to evaluate the corresponding inflammation further, through histopathology. Clinical signs in the pigs included dullness, sluggishness, somnolence, apathy and loss of consciousness. Cysts were distributed in all cerebral lobes, i.e. 39.7% in the frontal lobe, 20.3% in the parietal lobe, 20.0% in the occipital lobe and 19.7% in the temporal lobe, and only 0.4% in the cerebellum. No cysts were found in the spinal cord. Cysts were localized as follows: 47.9% in the dorsal subarachnoid, 46.9% in the parenchyma, 4.4% in the subarachnoid base and 0.9% in the ventricles. The results of the histopathology revealed lesions in an early inflammatory stage, i.e. stage I, in all anatomical locations except for two, which showed more of an inflammatory reaction, stage III, in one pig. It was concluded that clinical signs in pigs were neither pathognomonic nor consistent. These signs, therefore, cannot be used as a reliable indicator of porcine NCC. Furthermore, T. solium cysts were found to be in abundance in all cerebral lobes, and only a few were found in the cerebellum. Regarding the inflammatory response, no significant differences were found in the location and total number of cysts. Thus, further studies are needed to explain the determinants of cyst distribution in the CNS and assess in detail clinical signs associated with porcine NCC.