Volume 99, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Neurocysticercosis (NCC), the infection of the human central nervous system (CNS) with larval cysts of causes widespread neurological morbidity. Animal models are crucial for studying the pathophysiology and treatment of NCC. Some drawbacks of current NCC models include differences in the pathogenesis of the model and wild-type parasite, low rates of infection efficiency and lack of reproducibility. We describe a novel porcine model that recreates infection in the CNS with high efficiency. Activated oncospheres, either in a high (45,000–50,000) or low (10,000) dose were inoculated in the common carotid artery of 12 pigs by ultrasound-guided catheterization. Following oncosphere injection, either a high (30 mL) or low (1–3 mL) volume of saline flush was also administered. Cyst burden in the CNS was evaluated independently according to oncosphere dose and flush volume. Neurocysticercosis was achieved in 8/12 (66.7%) pigs. Cyst burden in the CNS of pigs was higher in the high versus the low oncosphere dose category (median: 4.5; interquartile ranges [IQR]: 1–8 and median: 1; IQR: 0–4, respectively) and in the high versus the low flush volume category (median 5.5; IQR: 1–8 and median: 1; IQR: 0–2, respectively), although not statistically different. All cysts in the CNS were viable, whereas both viable and degenerated cysts were found in the musculature. Carotid injection of activated oncospheres in pigs is effective in reproducing NCC. Oncosphere entry into the CNS by way of vasculature mimics wild-type infection, and provides a useful alternative for future investigations on the pathogenesis and antiparasitic treatment of NCC.


Article metrics loading...

The graphs shown below represent data from March 2017
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Gilman RH, Gonzalez AE, Llanos-Zavalaga F, Tsang VC, Garcia HH, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru; , 2012. Prevention and control of Taenia solium taeniasis/cysticercosis in Peru. Pathog Glob Health 106: 312318. [Google Scholar]
  2. Gripper LB, Welburn SC, , 2017. Neurocysticercosis infection and disease—a review. Acta Trop 166: 218224. [Google Scholar]
  3. Coral-Almeida M, Gabriel S, Abatih EN, Praet N, Benitez W, Dorny P, , 2015. Taenia solium human cysticercosis: a systematic review of sero-epidemiological data from endemic zones around the world. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9: e0003919. [Google Scholar]
  4. Garcia HH, Nash TE, Del Brutto OH, , 2014. Clinical symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of neurocysticercosis. Lancet Neurol 13: 12021215. [Google Scholar]
  5. Nash TE, Garcia HH, , 2011. Diagnosis and treatment of neurocysticercosis. Nat Rev Neurol 7: 584594. [Google Scholar]
  6. Coyle CM, 2012. Neurocysticercosis: neglected but not forgotten. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 6: e1500. [Google Scholar]
  7. O’Neal SE, Flecker RH, , 2015. Hospitalization frequency and charges for neurocysticercosis, United States, 2003–2012. Emerg Infect Dis 21: 969976. [Google Scholar]
  8. Carabin H, Ndimubanzi PC, Budke CM, Nguyen H, Qian Y, Cowan LD, Stoner JA, Rainwater E, Dickey M, , 2011. Clinical manifestations associated with neurocysticercosis: a systematic review. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 5: e1152. [Google Scholar]
  9. Montano SM, Villaran MV, Ylquimiche L, Figueroa JJ, Rodriguez S, Bautista CT, Gonzalez AE, Tsang VC, Gilman RH, Garcia HH, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru; , 2005. Neurocysticercosis: association between seizures, serology, and brain CT in rural Peru. Neurology 65: 229233. [Google Scholar]
  10. Gripper LB, Welburn SC, , 2017. The causal relationship between neurocysticercosis infection and the development of epilepsy—a systematic review. Infect Dis Poverty 6: 31. [Google Scholar]
  11. Garcia HH, Del Brutto OH, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru; , 2017. Antiparasitic treatment of neurocysticercosis—the effect of cyst destruction in seizure evolution. Epilepsy Behav 76: 158162. [Google Scholar]
  12. Arora N, Tripathi S, Kumar P, Mondal P, Mishra A, Prasad A, , 2017. Recent advancements and new perspectives in animal models for neurocysticercosis immunopathogenesis. Parasite Immunol 39: e12439. [Google Scholar]
  13. Guerra-Giraldez C, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru , 2013. Disruption of the blood-brain barrier in pigs naturally infected with Taenia solium, untreated and after anthelmintic treatment. Exp Parasitol 134: 443446. [Google Scholar]
  14. Mahanty S, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru , 2015. Post-treatment vascular leakage and inflammatory responses around brain cysts in porcine neurocysticercosis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9: e0003577. [Google Scholar]
  15. Mahanty S, Orrego MA, Cangalaya C, Adrianzen MP, Arroyo G, Calcina J, Gonzalez AE, Garcia HH, Guerra-Giraldez C, Nash TE, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru; , 2017. TNF-α blockade suppresses pericystic inflammation following anthelmintic treatment in porcine neurocysticercosis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 11: e0006059. [Google Scholar]
  16. de Aluja AS, Villalobos AN, Plancarte A, Rodarte LF, Hernandez M, Sciutto E, , 1996. Experimental Taenia solium cysticercosis in pigs: characteristics of the infection and antibody response. Vet Parasitol 61: 4959. [Google Scholar]
  17. Verastegui M, Gonzalez A, Gilman RH, Gavidia C, Falcon N, Bernal T, Garcia HH, , 2000. Experimental infection model for Taenia solium cysticercosis in swine. Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru. Vet Parasitol 94: 3344. [Google Scholar]
  18. Santamaria E, Plancarte A, de Aluja AS, , 2002. The experimental infection of pigs with different numbers of Taenia solium eggs: immune response and efficiency of establishment. J Parasitol 88: 6973. [Google Scholar]
  19. Deckers N, Kanobana K, Silva M, Gonzalez AE, Garcia HH, Gilman RH, Dorny P, , 2008. Serological responses in porcine cysticercosis: a link with the parasitological outcome of infection. Int J Parasitol 38: 11911198. [Google Scholar]
  20. Fleury A, 2015. Taenia solium: development of an experimental model of porcine neurocysticercosis. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 9: e0003980. [Google Scholar]
  21. Cardona AE, Restrepo BI, Jaramillo JM, Teale JM, , 1999. Development of an animal model for neurocysticercosis: immune response in the central nervous system is characterized by a predominance of gamma delta T cells. J Immunol 162: 9951002. [Google Scholar]
  22. Patil S, Robinson P, Actor JK, Baig S, White AC, Jr., 2006. Proinflammatory cytokines in granulomas associated with murine cysticercosis are not the cause of seizures. J Parasitol 92: 738741. [Google Scholar]
  23. Moura VB, Lima SB, Matos-Silva H, Vinaud MC, Loyola PR, Lino RS, , 2016. Cellular immune response in intraventricular experimental neurocysticercosis. Parasitology 143: 334342. [Google Scholar]
  24. Verastegui MR, 2015. Novel rat model for neurocysticercosis using Taenia solium. Am J Pathol 185: 22592268. [Google Scholar]
  25. Gonzalez AE, 1990. Prevalence and comparison of serologic assays, necropsy, and tongue examination for the diagnosis of porcine cysticercosis in Peru. Am J Trop Med Hyg 43: 194199. [Google Scholar]
  26. Tsang VC, Pilcher JA, Zhou W, Boyer AE, Kamango-Sollo EI, Rhoads ML, Murrell KD, Schantz PM, Gilman RH, , 1991. Efficacy of the immunoblot assay for cysticercosis in pigs and modulated expression of distinct IgM/IgG activities to Taenia solium antigens in experimental infections. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 29: 6978. [Google Scholar]
  27. Jeri C, Gilman RH, Lescano AG, Mayta H, Ramirez ME, Gonzalez AE, Nazerali R, Garcia HH, , 2004. Species identification after treatment for human taeniasis. Lancet 363: 949950. [Google Scholar]
  28. Mayta H, Gilman RH, Prendergast E, Castillo JP, Tinoco YO, Garcia HH, Gonzalez AE, Sterling CR, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru; , 2008. Nested PCR for specific diagnosis of Taenia solium taeniasis. J Clin Microbiol 46: 286289. [Google Scholar]
  29. Verastegui M, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru , 2007. Taenia solium oncosphere adhesion to intestinal epithelial and Chinese hamster ovary cells in vitro. Infect Immun 75: 51585166. [Google Scholar]
  30. Chile N, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru , 2016. In vitro study of Taenia solium postoncospheral form. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 10: e0004396. [Google Scholar]
  31. Swindle M, , 2007. Swine in the Laboratory: Surgery, Anesthesia, Imaging and Experimental Techniques, 2nd edition. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 195–295.
  32. Chembensofu M, 2017. Re-visiting the detection of porcine cysticercosis based on full carcass dissections of naturally Taenia solium infected pigs. Parasit Vectors 10: 572. [Google Scholar]
  33. Massoud TF, Vinters HV, Chao KH, Vinuela F, Jahan R, , 2000. Histopathologic characteristics of a chronic arteriovenous malformation in a swine model: preliminary study. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 21: 12681276. [Google Scholar]
  34. Pawlowski Z, , 2002. Taenia solium: basic biology and transmission. Singh G, Prabhakar S, eds. Taenia solium Cysticercosis: From Basic to Clinical Science. Wallingford, United Kingdom: CABI Publishing, 113.
  35. Prasad KN, Chawla S, Prasad A, Tripathi M, Husain N, Gupta RK, , 2006. Clinical signs for identification of neurocysticercosis in swine naturally infected with Taenia solium. Parasitol Int 55: 151154. [Google Scholar]
  36. Phiri IK, Dorny P, Gabriel S, Willingham AL, 3rd Sikasunge C, Siziya S, Vercruysse J, , 2006. Assessment of routine inspection methods for porcine cysticercosis in Zambian village pigs. J Helminthol 80: 6972. [Google Scholar]
  37. Gonzalez D, Rodriguez-Carbajal J, Aluja A, Flisser A, , 1987. Cerebral cysticercosis in pigs studied by computed tomography and necropsy. Vet Parasitol 26: 5569. [Google Scholar]
  38. Flisser A, 1990. Praziquantel treatment of porcine brain and muscle Taenia solium cysticercosis. 1. Radiological, physiological and histopathological studies. Parasitol Res 76: 263269. [Google Scholar]
  39. Londono DP, Alvarez JI, Trujillo J, Jaramillo MM, Restrepo BI, , 2002. The inflammatory cell infiltrates in porcine cysticercosis: immunohistochemical analysis during various stages of infection. Vet Parasitol 109: 249259. [Google Scholar]
  40. Mkupasi EM, Ngowi HA, Sikasunge CS, Leifsson PS, Johansen MV, , 2014. Distribution and histopathological changes induced by cysts of Taenia solium in the brain of pigs from Tanzania. J Helminthol 6: 16. [Google Scholar]
  41. Cangalaya C, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru , 2016. Perilesional inflammation in neurocysticercosis—relationship between contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging, Evans blue staining and histopathology in the pig model. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 10: e0004869. [Google Scholar]
  42. Alvarez JI, Londono DP, Alvarez AL, Trujillo J, Jaramillo MM, Restrepo BI, , 2002. Granuloma formation and parasite disintegration in porcine cysticercosis: comparison with human neurocysticercosis. J Comp Pathol 127: 186193. [Google Scholar]
  43. Rodriguez S, Dorny P, Tsang VC, Pretell EJ, Brandt J, Lescano AG, Gonzalez AE, Gilman RH, Garcia HH, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru; , 2009. Detection of Taenia solium antigens and anti-T. solium antibodies in paired serum and cerebrospinal fluid samples from patients with intraparenchymal or extraparenchymal neurocysticercosis. J Infect Dis 199: 13451352. [Google Scholar]
  44. Zea-Vera A, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru , 2013. Parasite antigen in serum predicts the presence of viable brain parasites in patients with apparently calcified cysticercosis only. Clin Infect Dis 57: e154e159. [Google Scholar]
  45. Gavidia CM, Verastegui MR, Garcia HH, Lopez-Urbina T, Tsang VC, Pan W, Gilman RH, Gonzalez AE, Cysticercosis Working Group in Peru; , 2013. Relationship between serum antibodies and Taenia solium larvae burden in pigs raised in field conditions. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 7: e2192. [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Received : 22 Nov 2017
  • Accepted : 22 Mar 2018
  • Published online : 11 Jun 2018

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error