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

J Parasitol. 2001 Feb;87(1):65-72. doi: 10.1645/0022-3395(2001)087[0065:SNOAPI]2.0.CO;2.


The sensory neuronal ultrastructure of the amphids of the infective larva (L3) of Haemonchus contortus was analyzed, compared, and contrasted with that of the first-stage larva (L1). As in L1, each amphid of the L3 is innervated by 12 neurons. Thirteen ciliated dendritic processes of 10 neurons, 3 with double processes, lie in each amphidial channel. The dendritic process of each finger cell neuron ends in a large number of digitiform projections or "fingers," many more than in the L1. Processes of another pair of specialized neurons, probable homologs of wing cells in Caenorhabditis elegans, extend into the extreme anterior tip of the larva; they are much longer than those in L1. In L3, the neurons exit through the posterior wall of the amphidial chamber individually rather than in a bundle, as in L1. Cell constancy between L1 and L3 was confirmed, and the neurons were individually identified. Significant neuron-specific variations, presumably related to functional differences between the 2 stages were observed. In contrast, species-specific differences are surprisingly small. Haemonchus contortus is closely related to hookworms and has amphidial structure nearly identical to that in hookworms and similar to that in C. elegans, to which it is also closely related.

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
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Haemonchiasis / parasitology
  • Haemonchiasis / veterinary*
  • Haemonchus / growth & development*
  • Haemonchus / ultrastructure
  • Larva / cytology*
  • Larva / ultrastructure
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neurons, Afferent / ultrastructure*
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases / parasitology*