U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


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This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018


Parasitology Research (2018) 117:1195–1204 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-018-5799-5


Rodents are intermediate hosts for many species of Sarcocystis. Little is known of Sarcocystis cymruensis that uses the Brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) as intermediate hosts and the domestic cat (Felis catus) as experimental definitive host. Here, we identified and described Sarcocystis cymruensis in naturally infected R. norvegicus from Grenada, West Indies. Rats (n = 167) were trapped in various locations in two parishes (St. George and St. David). Microscopic, thin (< 1 μm) walled, slender sarcocysts were found in 11 of 156 (7.0%) rats skeletal muscles by squash examination. A laboratory-raised cat fed naturally infected rat tissues excreted sporocysts that were infectious for interferon gamma gene knockout (KO) mice, but not to Swiss Webster outbred albino mice. All inoculated mice remained asymptomatic, and microscopic S. cymruensis-like sarcocysts were found in the muscles of KO mice euthanized on day 70, 116, and 189 post inoculation (p.i.). Sarcocysts from infected KO mice were infective for cats at day 116 but not at 70 days p.i. By transmission electron microscopy, the sarcocyst wall was Btype 1a.^ Detailed morphological description of the cyst wall, metrocytes, and bradyzoites is given for the first time. Additionally, molecular data on S. cymruensis are presented also for the first time. Molecular characterization of sarcocysts 18S rDNA and 28S rDNA, ITS-1, and cox1 loci showed the highest similarity with S. rodentifelis and S. muris. In conclusion, the present study described the natural infection of S. cymruensis in Brown rat for the first time in a Caribbean country and provided its molecular characteristics.