Sensory neuroanatomy of a skin-penetrating nematode parasite: Strongyloides stercoralis. I. Amphidial neurons

J Comp Neurol. 1995 Jun 26;357(2):281-95. doi: 10.1002/cne.903570208.


The Strongyloides stercoralis infective larva resumes feeding and development on receipt of signals, presumably chemical, from a host. Only two of the anterior sense organs of this larva are open to the external environment. These large, paired goblet-shaped sensilla, known as amphids, are presumably, therefore, the only chemoreceptors. Using three-dimensional reconstructions made from serial electron micrographs, amphidial structure was investigated. In each amphid, cilialike dendritic processes of 11 neurons extend nearly to the amphidial pore; a twelfth terminates at the base of the amphidial channel, behind an array of lateral projections on the other processes. A specialized dendritic process leaves the amphidial channel and forms a complex of lamellae that interdigitate with lamellae of the amphidial sheath cell. This "lamellar cell" is similar to one of the "wing cells" or possibly the "finger cell" of Caenorhabditis elegans. Each of the 13 amphidial neurons was traced to its cell body. Ten neurons, including the lamellar cell, connect to cell bodies in the lateral ganglion, posterior to the nerve ring. The positions of these cell bodies were similar to those of the amphidial cell bodies in C.elegans. Therefore, they were named by using C. elegans nomenclature. Three other amphidial processes connect to cell bodies anterior to the nerve ring; these have no homologs in C. elegans. A map allowing identification of the amphidial cell bodies in the living worm was prepared. Consequently, laser ablation studies can be conducted to determine which neurons are involved in the infective process.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / cytology
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / cytology
  • Ganglia, Invertebrate / growth & development
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Larva
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microwaves
  • Neurons, Afferent / ultrastructure*
  • Strongyloides / growth & development
  • Strongyloides / physiology*
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Tissue Fixation