Ultrasonography in filaria-infected rodents: detection of adult Litomosoides sigmodontis and Brugia malayi filariae.

Research paper by S S Mand, S S Specht, H H Zahner, A A Hoerauf

Indexed on: 26 Aug '06Published on: 26 Aug '06Published in: Tropical Medicine & International Health


To evaluate the usefulness of ultrasonography (USG) in the detection of adult filariae in rodents. Wuchereria bancrofti are frequently detected using USG in humans, whereas adult Brugia malayi have not been so far.A Meriones unguiculatus with Litomosoides sigmodontis infection was examined to visualize adult filariae of a similar length as W. bancrofti. Similarly, three Mastomys coucha, infected with B. malayi, were examined using USG to verify whether the adult worms, which are far smaller than W. bancrofti and L. sigmodontis, can be located using USG in the animals.Adult L. sigmodontis were detected using USG in the pleural cavity of M. unguiculatus, and in M. coucha adult B. malayi were visualized in the hearts, lungs, axillary lymph nodes and scrotum. Ultrasound findings were verified by dissection of the rodents.Although adult B. malayi are far smaller than L. sigmodontis and W. bancrofti, they can be detected using USG in rodents. USG may serve as an adjunctive tool to support parasitological examinations and can add information on filarial infections at any time point of an observation period, particularly in cryptic infections and without the need for invasive measures or killing of the rodent. Thus, USG can support the early detection of macrofilaricidal activities of new compounds and can be used to determine the location of adult worms in the animals. It is possible to give a rough estimate of the number of adult worms, but determination of the exact numbers of adult filariae in various locations is impossible with USG.