Strongyloides stercoralis: histopathology of uncomplicated and hyperinfective strongyloidiasis in the Mongolian gerbil, a rodent model for human strongyloidiasis [corrected]

Int J Parasitol. 1995 Apr;25(4):411-20. doi: 10.1016/0020-7519(94)00154-g.


Tissues from corticosteroid-treated gerbils hyperinfected with Strongyloides stercoralis were compared grossly and microscopically to similar tissues from animals with uncomplicated strongyloidiasis. Gerbils with hyperinfection developed severe pulmonary alveolar haemorrhage with a variable degree of subacute eosinophilic interstitial pneumonia associated with numerous alveolar, vascular and interstitial larvae. Hyperinfection induced by corticosteroids, given either before inoculation of S. stercoralis larvae or after a chronic Strongyloides infection was established, produced similar lesions. In contrast, lungs from gerbils with uncomplicated Strongyloides infection had severe eosinophilic perivasculitis and vasculitis with very little haemorrhage, no pneumonia and no larvae. Sections of adult worms were present in the proximal part of the intestinal tract, lodged in spaces between mucosal epithelial cells. Adult worms were not associated with inflammation and were more common in the corticosteroid-treated gerbils. In corticosteroid-treated gerbils only, there were numerous larvae in the distal intestinal tract, throughout the intestinal wall and adjacent mesentery, within interstitial tissues and in lymphatic vessels. Significant inflammation with associated larvae was only present in the caecum and mesenteric lymph nodes, suggesting that the caecum was the main site for initiation of parenteral migration with subsequent invasion of the lymphatic system and lungs. The lesions in these gerbils were similar to those found in humans. Infection of gerbils with S. stercoralis is the best rodent model of human strongyloidiasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Gerbillinae*
  • Hemorrhage / complications
  • Hemorrhage / parasitology
  • Hemorrhage / pathology
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / parasitology
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / pathology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / parasitology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Larva / parasitology
  • Larva / ultrastructure
  • Lung Diseases, Parasitic / parasitology
  • Lung Diseases, Parasitic / pathology*
  • Lymph Nodes / parasitology
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Mesentery / parasitology
  • Mesentery / pathology
  • Methylprednisolone / analogs & derivatives
  • Methylprednisolone Acetate
  • Pneumonia / complications
  • Pneumonia / parasitology
  • Pneumonia / pathology
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / parasitology
  • Pulmonary Alveoli / pathology
  • Pulmonary Eosinophilia / parasitology
  • Pulmonary Eosinophilia / pathology
  • Strongyloides stercoralis* / drug effects
  • Strongyloides stercoralis* / isolation & purification
  • Strongyloides stercoralis* / ultrastructure
  • Strongyloidiasis / complications
  • Strongyloidiasis / parasitology
  • Strongyloidiasis / pathology*
  • Vasculitis / parasitology
  • Vasculitis / pathology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Methylprednisolone Acetate
  • Methylprednisolone