Long live the worms: Methods for maintaining and assessing the viability of intestinal stages of Parascaris spp. in vitro

J. A. Scare, A. E. Steuer, C. L. Shaffer, P. Slusarewicz, A. Mousley, M. K. Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In vitro maintenance of helminth parasites enables a variety of molecular, pharmaceutical and immunological analyses. Currently, the nutritional and environmental in vitro requirements of the equine ascarid parasite, Parascaris spp., have not been determined. Additionally, an objective method for assessing viability of Parascaris spp. intestinal stages does not exist. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the in vitro requirements of intestinal stages of Parascaris spp., and to develop a viability assessment method. A total of 1045 worms were maintained in a total of 212 cultures. Worms obtained from naturally infected foals at necropsy were immediately placed in culture flasks containing 200 mL of culture media. A variety of media types, nutrient supplementation and environmental conditions were examined. A motility-based scoring system was used to assess worm viability. Worms maintained in Roswell Park Memorial Institute-1640 had significantly better viability than any other media (P < 0.0001) and all media types supplemented with any of the nutrients examined (P < 0.0001). The use of a platform rocker also significantly improved viability (P = 0.0305). This is the first study to examine the requirements for maintaining Parascaris spp. intestinal stages in vitro and to evaluate their viability based on movement using an objective scoring system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-693
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2018.


  • Ascarid
  • Parascaris
  • helminth
  • in vitro
  • maintenance
  • viability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Infectious Diseases

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