Light and Electron Microstructure of a Sarcocystis Sp. from the Malaysian Long-Tailed Monkey, Macaca Fascicularis

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  • Departments of Parasitology and Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The ultrastructure of the cyst wall and zoites of a species of Sarcocystis from the skeletal muscles of a naturally-infected Malaysian long-tailed monkey, Macaca fascicularis, is described in detail. The wavy, electron-dense primary cyst wall is thin (55 nm) and invaginated. Cytophaneres are absent. The ground substance contains electron-dense granules and bundles of parallel, fibrillar elements in some areas. Thin trabeculae are present. The zoites measure 1.2 × 4.7 µm and have an interior conoid, 22 subpellicular microtubules, 50–60 micronemes, 4–6 rhoptries, and a posteriorly situated nucleus. Some ultrastructural aspects of the cyst wall and the zoites of this parasite resemble those of Sarcocystis species of the moonrat, rhesus monkey, tamarin, and baboon. The light microscopic appearance of this species from M. fascicularis also bears some resemblance to that of that of parasites from the four cases of human Sarcocystis reported in Malaysia. The cysts in all these human cases were thin-walled, with no cytophaneres. Although the final hosts of these species of Sarcocystis are not known, it is quite possible that man, monkeys, and perhaps the moonrat (an insectivore) may serve as common intermediate hosts for one or several species of Sarcocystis.

Author Notes

Present address: WHO/TDR/Filariasis, World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland.