Skip to content
BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter August 9, 2012

Ultrastructure of the vitellarium in the digeneans Phyllodistomum angulatum (Plagiorchiida, Gorgoderidae) and Azygia lucii (Strigeida, Azygiidae)

Larisa Poddubnaya, Magdaléna Bruňanská, Zdzisław Świderski and David Gibson
From the journal Acta Parasitologica


Fine structural features of the vitellarium of two digeneans, Phyllodistomum angulatum and Azygia lucii, are documented and compared with those of other digenean species. The cytodifferentiation of immature vitelline cells (vitellocytes) assumes the production and subsequent accumulation in their cytoplasm of several inclusions. Mature vitelline cells of P. angulatum are characterized by the presence of vitelline clusters (∼2.7 μm in diameter, with ∼100 vitelline globules of ∼0.35 μm in diameter) and osmiophobic, saturated lipid droplets (∼2-3 μm in diameter), and in A. lucii vitelline clusters of the same diameter include much fewer vitelline globules (∼50 globules of ∼0.5 μm in diameter), osmiophilic lipid droplets and α-glycogen. In both P. angulatum and A. lucii, interstitial cells are also present within the vitellarium. Two types of contact sites (septate and tight junctions) between adjoining interstitial cells also occur in both digenean species. Judging from the present and previous ultrastructural studies, it is suggested that there are three potential discriminatory characters of the digenean vitellarium (the number of different types of cell components within the vitellarium, the presence and type of junctional complexes between these cells, and the isolation of the vitellarium from the surrounding tissue) which may prove useful for a better understanding of the biology and evolutionary history of the different digenean groups.

[1] Björkman J., Thorsell W. 1963. On the fine morphology of the formation of egg shell globules in the vitelline gland of the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica L. Experimental Cell Research, 32, 153–156. DOI: 10.1016/0014-4827(63)90077-6. in Google Scholar

[2] Bruňanská M., Poddubnaya L.G., Dezfuli B.S. 2005. Vitellogenesis in two spathebothriidean cestodes. Parasitology Research, 96, 390–397. DOI: 10.1007/s00436-005-1378-7. in Google Scholar

[3] Burton P.R. 1963. A histochemical study of vitelline cells, egg capsules, and Mehlis’ gland in the frog lung-fluke, Haematoloechus medioplexus. Journal of Experimental Zoology, 154, 247–257. in Google Scholar

[4] Chaymardanov J.K., Tanyuksel M. 1995. Morphological and histochemical observations on the vitelline cells of adult Dicrocoelium dendriticum. Turkish Journal of Zoology, 19, 323–329. Search in Google Scholar

[5] Colhoun L.M., Fairweather I., Brennan C.P. 1998. Observations on the mechanism of eggshell formation in the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica. Parasitology, 116, 555–567. in Google Scholar

[6] Erasmus D.A. 1973. A comparative study of the reproductive system of mature, immature and ‘unisexual’ female Schistosoma mansoni. Parasitology, 67, 165–183. in Google Scholar

[7] Erasmus D.A., Popiel I., Shaw R. 1982. A comparative study of the vitelline cell in Schistosoma mansoni, S. haematobium, S. japonicum and S. mattheei. Parasitology, 84, 283–287. in Google Scholar

[8] Fairweather I., Anderson H.R., Threadgold L.T. 1988. Fasciola hepatica: morphological changes in vitelline cells following treatment in vitro with the deacetylated (amine) metabolite of diamphenethide (damd). International Journal for Parasitology, 18, 1061–1069. DOI: 0020-7519/88S3.00+0.00. in Google Scholar

[9] Fukuda K., Hamajima F., Ichiki Y. 1983. Ultrastructural study on the vitelline cell of the lung fluke Paragonimus ohirai. Japanese Journal of Parasitology, 32, 439–449. Search in Google Scholar

[10] Ginetsinskaya T.A. 1968. Trematodes, their life cycles, biology and evolution. Leningrad, USSR: Nauka, 412 pp. (Translated, 1988, Amerind Publ. Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 559 pp.). Search in Google Scholar

[11] Grant W.C., Harkema R., Muse K.E. 1977. Ultrastructure of Pharyngostomoides procyonis Harkema 1942 (Diplostomatidae). II. The female reproductive system. Journal of Parasitology, 63, 1019–1030. in Google Scholar

[12] Hanna R.E.B. 1976. Fasciola hepatica: a light and electron autoradiographic study of shell protein and glycogen synthesis by vitelline follicles in tissue slices. Experimental Parasitology, 39, 18–28. DOI: 10.1016/0014-4894(76)90005-9. in Google Scholar

[13] Hendow H.T., James B.L. 1989. Ultrastructure of vitellarium, vitellogenesis and associated ducts in Maritrema linguilla (Digenea: Microphallidae). International Journal for Parasitology, 19, 489–497. DOI: 0020-7519/89 S3.00 + 0.00. in Google Scholar

[14] Holy J.M., Wittrock D.D. 1986. Ultrastructure of the female reproductive organs (ovary, vitellaria, and Mehlis’ gland) of Halipegus eccentricus (Trematoda: Derogenidae). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 64, 2203–2213. in Google Scholar

[15] Irwin S.W., Maguire J.G. 1979. Ultrastructure of the vitelline follicles of Gorgoderina vitelliloba (Trematoda: Gorgoderidae). International Journal for Parasitology, 9, 47–53. DOI: 10.1016/00 20-7519(79)90065-1. in Google Scholar

[16] Irwin S.W., Threadgold L.T. 1970. Electron-microscope studies on Fasciola hepatica. VIII. The development of the vitelline cells. Experimental Parasitology, 28, 399–411. DOI: 10.1016/0014-4894(70)90108-6. in Google Scholar

[17] Irwin S.W., Threadgold L.T. 1972. Electron microscope studies of Fasciola hepatica. X. Egg formation. Experimental Parasitology, 31, 321–331. in Google Scholar

[18] Koulish S. 1969. Observations on the origin of two substances produced by the vitellaria in Gorgoderina attenuate. Journal of Morphology, 127, 431–438. in Google Scholar

[19] Levron C., Poddubnaya L.G., Kuchta R., Freeman M., Scholz T. 2007. Vitellogenesis and vitelline system in the pseudophyllidean tapeworm Paraechinophallus japonicus: ultrastructural and cytochemical studies. Folia Parasitologica, 54, 43–50. Search in Google Scholar

[20] Meepool A., Wanichanon C., Vijanant V., Sobhon P. 2006. Development and roles of vitelline cells in eggshell formation in Fasciola gigantica. Invertebrate Reproduction and Development, 49, 9–17. in Google Scholar

[21] MŁocicki D., Świderski Z., Mackiewicz J.S., Ibraheem M.H. 2011. Ultrastructure and cytochemical studies of GER-bodies in the intrauterine eggs of Wenyonia virilis Woodland, 1923 (Cestoda, Caryophyllidea). Acta Parasitologica, 56, 40–47. DOI: 10.2478/s11686-011-0011-4. in Google Scholar

[22] Poddubnaya L.G., Gibson D.I., Świderski Z., Olson P.D. 2006. Vitellocyte ultrastructure in cestode Didymobothrium rudolphii (Monticelli, 1890): possible evidence for the recognition of divergent taxa within the Spathebothriidea. Acta Parasitologica, 51, 255–263. DOI: 10.2478/s11686-006-0039-z. in Google Scholar

[23] Podvyaznaya I.M. 1990. The morphology and ultrastructure of the female reproductive system of Prosthodendrium ascidia (Trematoda, Lecithodendriidae). In: (Eds. Yu.V. Mamkaev and B.I. Ioffe). Parasitic and free-living Plathelminthes: faunistics and morphology. Trudy Zoologicheskogo Instituta, Leningrad, 221, 61–78 (In Russian). Search in Google Scholar

[24] Podvyaznaya I.M. 2003. Ultrastructural studies of the female reproductive system in a parasite of bats Allassogonoporus amphoraeformis (Digenea: Allassogonoporidae). Parazitologiya, 37, 387–393 (In Russian). Search in Google Scholar

[25] Sampour M. 2008. The study of vitelline gland of Haploporus lateralis (Digenea: Trematoda). Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 11, 113–117. in Google Scholar

[26] Sharma P.N., Swarnakar G. 1992. Ultrastructure and histochemistry of vitelline cells of Orthocoelium scoliocoelium (Trematoda: Digenea). Indian Journal of Parasitology, 16, 145–154. Search in Google Scholar

[27] Schmidt J. 1998. Glycan vesicle formation in vitellocytes and hatching vacuoles in eggs of Echinostoma caproni and Fasciola hepatica (Digenea). Tissue and Cell, 30, 416–426. DOI: 10.1016/S0040-8166 (98)80056-6. in Google Scholar

[28] Smyth J.D., Halton D.W. 1983. The physiology of trematodes. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 432 pp. Search in Google Scholar

[29] Świderski Z., Bakhoum A.J.S., Montoliu I., Feliu C., Miquel J. 2011. Ultrastructural study of vitellogenesis in Maritrema feliui (Digenea, Microphallidae). Parasitology Research, 109, 1707–1714. DOI: 10.1007/s00436-011-2444-y. in Google Scholar

[30] Świderski Z., Bruňanská M., Poddubnaya L.G., Mackiewicz J.S. 2004. Cytochemical and ultrastructural study on vitellogenesis in caryophyllidean cestode Khawia armeniaca (Cholodkovski, 1915). Acta Parasitologica, 49, 16–24. Search in Google Scholar

[31] Świderski Z., Mackiewicz J.S. 1976. Electron microscope study of vitellogenesis in Glaridacris catostomi (Cestoidea: Caryophyllidea). International Journal for Parasitology, 6, 61–73. DOI: 10.1016/0020-7519(76)90011-4. in Google Scholar

[32] Świderski Z., Młocicki D., Mackiewicz J.S., Miquel J., Ibraheem M.H., Bruňans’a M. 2009. Ultrastructure and cytochemistry of vitellogenesis in Wenyonia virilis Woodland, 1923 (Cestoda, Caryophyllidea). Acta Parasitologica, 54, 131–142. DOI: 10.2478/s11686-009-0028-0. in Google Scholar

[33] Świderski Z., Xylander W.E.R. 2000. Vitellocytes and vitellogenesis in cestodes in relation to embryonic development, egg production and life cycle. International Journal for Parasitology, 30, 805–807. DOI: 10.1016/S0020-7519(00)00066-7. in Google Scholar

[34] Threadgold L.T. 1982. Fasciola hepatica: stereological analysis of vitelline cell development. Experimental Parasitology, 54, 352–365. in Google Scholar

[35] Thulin J. 1982. Structure and function of the female reproductive ducts of the fish blood-fluke, Aporocotyle simplex Odhner, 1900 (Digenea: Sanguinicolidae). Sarsia, 67, 227–248. Search in Google Scholar

[36] Tulloch G.S., Shapiro J.E. 1957. The ultrastructure of the vitelline cells of Haematoloechus. Journal of Parasitology, 43, 628–632. in Google Scholar

[37] Wells K.E., Cordingley J.S. 1991. Schistosoma mansoni: eggshell formation is regulated by pH and calcium. Experimental Parasitology, 73, 295–310. in Google Scholar

[38] Yamaguti S. 1975. A synoptical review of life histories of digenetic trematodes of vertebrates. Keigaku Publishing Company, Tokyo, 590 pp. + 219 pl. Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2012-8-9
Published in Print: 2012-9-1

© 2012 W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

Scroll Up Arrow