Gross, microscopic, radiologic, echocardiographic and haematological findings in rats experimentally infected with Angiostrongylus cantonensis

Matthew K. Wun, Sarah Davies, Derek Spielman, Rogan Lee, Doug Hayward, Richard Malik

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1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Although the gross and microscopic pathology in rats infected with Angiostrongylus cantonensis has been well described, corresponding changes detected using diagnostic imaging modalities have not been reported. This work describes the cardiopulmonary changes in mature Wistar rats chronically infected with moderate burdens of A. cantonensis using radiology, computed tomography (CT), CT angiography, echocardiography, necropsy and histological examinations. Haematology and coagulation studies were also performed. Thoracic radiography, CT and CT angiography showed moderately severe alveolar pulmonary patterns mainly affecting caudal portions of the caudal lung lobes and associated dilatation of the caudal lobar pulmonary arteries. Presumptive worm profiles could be detected using echocardiography, with worms seen in the right ventricular outflow tract or straddling either the pulmonary and/or the tricuspid valves. Extensive, multifocal, coalescing dark areas and multiple pale foci affecting the caudal lung lobes were observed at necropsy. Histologically, these were composed of numerous large, confluent granulomas and fibrotic nodules. Adult worms were found predominantly in the mid- to distal pulmonary arteries. An inflammatory leukogram, hyperproteinaemia and hyperfibrinogenaemia were found in most rats. These findings provide a comparative model for A. cantonensis in its accidental hosts, such as humans and dogs. In addition, the pathological and imaging changes are comparable to those seen in dogs infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum, suggesting rats infected with A. cantonensis could be a model for dogs with A. vasorum infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
JournalParasitology
Volume148
Issue number2
Early online date03 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

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