Small sarcocysts can be a feature of experimental infections with Sarcocystis neurona merozoites

Antoinette E. Marsh, Sarah B. Chaney, Daniel K. Howe, William J. Saville, Stephen M. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Several reports indicate the presence of small tissue cysts associated with Sarcocystis neurona infections. Several failed attempts to develop tissue cysts in potential intermediate host using in vitro derived parasites originally isolated from horses with equine protozoal myeloencephalitis suggest that the experimental methods to achieve bradyzoites with those isolates was not possible. Those prior studies reported the lack of detectable sarcocysts based on histology and in vivo feeding trials. A recent report of successful production and detection of small sarcocysts triggered us to review archived tissues from earlier experimental infection studies. The retrospective review sought to determine if small sized sarcocysts were not detected due to their relatively smaller size and infrequency as compared to larger sized sarcocysts produced with other isolates in these experimental inoculation trials. Tissues from two prior in vivo inoculation studies, involving in vitro-produced parasites inoculated into laboratory-reared cats and raccoons, were re-examined by immunohistochemistry staining to more easily detect the tissue cysts. In the experimental cat study no small tissue cysts were seen, consistent with the original publication results. However, in experimental raccoon study, one raccoon inoculated with an EPM-derived isolate, SN-UCD1, had small sarcocysts not reported in the original publication. This retrospective study suggests that much closer scrutiny of tissues, including the use of immunohistochemistry on tissue sections is required to detect the smaller S. neurona sarcocysts associated with the experimental inoculations of the isolates originally derived from horses with EPM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-118
Number of pages3
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
StatePublished - Oct 15 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017


  • Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis
  • Sarcocystis neurona
  • Sarcocysts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary


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