Study on the tolerance and adaptation of rats to Angiostrongylus cantonensis infection.Parasitol Res. 2017 Jul; 116(7):1937-1945.PR
Angiostrongylus cantonensis (A. cantonensis) is the most common infectious agent causing eosinophilic meningitis. As an important food-borne parasitic disease, angiostrongyliasis cantonensis is an emerging infectious disease which brings severe harm to central nerve system of human. Rat, one of the few permissive hosts of A. cantonensis known to date, plays an indispensable role in the worm's life cycle. However, the tolerance and adaptation of rat to A. cantonensis infection is rarely understood. In this study, we infected rats with different numbers the third stage larvae (L3) of A. cantonensis and explored their tolerance through analysis on survival curve, neurological function score, and detection of pathological damages in organs including the brain, lung, and heart of the animals. Results indicated that rats' survival condition worsens, and body weight dropped more significantly as more worms were used for infection. Death appeared in groups infected with 80 and more A. cantonesnsis per rat. Morris water maze revealed that the neurological function of rats damaged gradually with increasing infection number of A. cantonensis larvae. When the number of infected parasite exceeded 240 per animal, rats showed significant neurological impairments. Collection of A. cantonensis from rat lung after 35 days of infection implied an upper limit for worm entry, and the average length of worm was inversely proportional to the infection amount, while the ratio between female and male worms was positively related to the infection number. The degree of pulmonary and cardiac inflammation was proportional to the infection number of A. cantonensis. Meanwhile, there existed considerable amount of adult worms in rat's right atrium and right ventricle, leading to a right heart myocardial inflammation. The present study firstly reports the tolerance and adaptation of rat, a permissive host of A. cantonensis to its infection, which will not only provide accurate technical parameters for maintaining A. cantonensis life cycle under laboratory conditions but also help unveil the underlying mechanism of the distinct pathological outcomes in the permissive and non-permissive hosts with A. cantonensis infection.