A crucial step in the infection process of grazing ruminants by gastro-intestinal nematodes is the exsheathment of the infective third-stage larva following ingestion. Recently, heat shock was shown to play an important role in the carbon dioxide (CO2)–dependent exsheathment response in Haemonchus contortus. The current in vitro study set out to evaluate the role of heat shock in other abomasal species. In rumen fluid, all species tested exsheathed rapidly and efficiently in response to heat shock and CO2. This response was significantly higher compared to slow temperature changes, supporting the hypothesis that heat shock plays an important role in vivo. However, in artificial buffer, the effect of heat shock was species-dependent. For H. contortus and Ostertagia leptospicularis, the response in artificial buffer was similar to rumen fluid. In contrast, Ostertagia ostertagi and Teladorsagia circumcincta exsheathment was significantly lower and/or slower in artificial buffer, and there was no benefit of heat shock. For these two species, it appears that there are co-factors in the rumen fluid, in addition to heat shock and CO2, contributing to exsheathment. Overall, the data indicate that there are significant differences between abomasal species in their response to exsheathment triggers.
Exsheathment Temperature Heat shock Carbon dioxide Parasite Rumen fluid
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We thank Peter Janssen, Stefan Muetzel and Alec Mackay for their valuable input on this project.
This project was supported by a research grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Science and Innovation Group (MBIE), New Zealand (contract C10X1506).
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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