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Vet Parasitol. 2012 Jun 8;187(1-2):183-95. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2011.12.028. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

Impact of compound alpha treatment in vivo on egg production by the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica.

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  • 1Parasite Therapeutics Research Group, School of Biological Sciences, Medical Biology Centre, The Queen's University of Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.


Sheep infected with the triclabendazole-susceptible Cullompton isolate of Fasciola hepatica were treated with compound alpha at a dosage of 15 mg/kg at 12 weeks post-infection. Adult flukes were recovered from the bile ducts at 24h, 48 h and 72 h post-treatment (pt). They were processed for whole mount analysis, histology and transmission electron microscopy of the female reproductive system: specifically, the uterus, Mehlis' gland, ovary and vitellaria. As judged by the appearance of the uterus, normal egg production ceased within 24h of treatment; this phenomenon preceded significant changes to the other reproductive organs. Over the 3-day pt period, there was a progressive decline in the number of oogonia in the ovary, together with an increase in the number of eosinophilic and apoptotic oocytes and vacuolation and shrinkage of the ovarian tubules. There was a shift in the cell population within the vitelline follicles at 48 h pt, with relatively greater numbers of mature vitelline cells and fewer immature cells. The follicles were vacuolated and the shell globule clusters in the mature cells were disorganised. Greater disruption was seen at 72 h pt, with a reduction in the size of the follicles and rupture of cells, releasing their content into the lumen of the follicles. These histological observations were confirmed and extended at the TEM level. Thus, examination of electron micrographs showed that disruption of the shell globule clusters was evident at 48 h pt, which coincided with the start of the breakdown of the mature cells and of the nurse cell network. These degenerative changes were more conspicuous at 72 h pt. In the Mehlis' gland, shrinkage and vacuolation of the cells and their cytoplasmic extensions became progressively greater from 48 h to 72 h pt, and secretory activity declined. The changes in the reproductive organs and inhibition of egg production are put in context of the overall time-course of drug action.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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