Identity and tissue localization of free and conjugated ecdysteroids in adults of Dirofilaria immitis and Ascaris suum

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1987 Aug;25(1):93-105. doi: 10.1016/0166-6851(87)90022-3.


Adult males and females of the dog heartworm, Dirofilaria immitis, and of the swine parasite, Ascaris suum, were extracted, the free and polar conjugated ecdysteroid fractions separated and the latter hydrolysed enzymically. The ecdysteroids released by hydrolysis of the conjugates and the free hormones were analysed by radioimmunoassay, high-performance liquid chromatography on reversed phase and adsorption columns monitoring fractions by radioimmunoassay, and by gas-liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (selected ion monitoring). In both species, males and females contained free and polar conjugated ecdysteroids, with evidence for the presence primarily of ecdysone and 20-hydroxyecdysone together with smaller amounts of 20,26-dihydroxyecdysone. Males and females of both species were then dissected into body fluid, reproductive system, gut and remaining body wall compartments, the ecdysteroids extracted, fractionated and analysed by radioimmunoassay and high-performance liquid chromatography monitoring fractions by radioimmunoassay. The results for both sexes in the two species were similar and indicated that ecdysteroids were not detectable in body fluids and that free ecdysteroids occurred in the reproductive system and the body wall, whereas polar conjugated ecdysteroids were detected in the reproductive system and the gut; a minor portion of the free ecdysteroids in A. suum was also apparently present in the gut. Further localization of the ecdysteroids in the body wall of A. suum females suggested that negligible immunoreactivity was associated with the circumpharyngeal nerve ring. The possible significance of the results is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ascaris / analysis*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dirofilaria immitis / analysis*
  • Ecdysteroids
  • Female
  • Filarioidea / analysis*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Invertebrate Hormones / analysis*
  • Invertebrate Hormones / isolation & purification
  • Male
  • Radioimmunoassay


  • Ecdysteroids
  • Invertebrate Hormones