Sensory neuroanatomy of a passively ingested nematode parasite, Haemonchus contortus: amphidial neurons of the first stage larva

J Comp Neurol. 2000 Feb 14;417(3):299-314.


When infective larvae of Haemonchus contortus (a highly pathogenic, economically important, gastric parasite of ruminants) are ingested by grazing hosts, they are exposed to environmental changes in the rumen, which stimulate resumption of development. Presumably, resumption is controlled by sensory neurons in sensilla known as amphids. Neuronal function can be determined by ablation of specifically recognized neurons in hatchling larvae (L1) in which neuronal cell bodies are easily visualized using differential interference microscopy. Using three-dimensional reconstructions from electron micrographs of serial transverse sections, amphidial structure of the L1 is described. Each amphid of H. contortus is innervated by 12 neurons. The ciliated dendritic processes of 10 neurons lie in the amphidial channel. Three of these end in double processes, resulting in 13 sensory cilia in the channel. One process, that of the so-called finger cell, ends in a number of digitiform projections. Another specialized dendrite enters the amphidial channel, but leaves it to end within the sheath cell, a hollow, flask-shaped cell that forms the base of the amphidial channel. Although not flattened, this process is otherwise similar to the wing cells in Caenorhabditis elegans; we consider it AWC of this group. Two other neurons, ASA and ADB, appear to be homologs of wing cells AWA and AWB in C. elegans, although they end as ciliated processes in the amphidial channel, rather than as flattened endings seen in C. elegans. Each of the 12 amphidial neurons was traced to its cell body in the lateral ganglion, posterior to the worm's nerve ring. The positions of these bodies were similar to their counterparts in C. elegans; they were named accordingly. A map for identifying the amphidial cell bodies in the living L1 was prepared, so that laser microbeam ablation studies can be conducted. These will determine which neurons are involved in the infective process, as well as others important in establishing the host-parasite relationship.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / anatomy & histology
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / ultrastructure
  • Haemonchus / anatomy & histology*
  • Haemonchus / ultrastructure
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Larva
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Nervous System / anatomy & histology
  • Nervous System / ultrastructure
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Terminology as Topic