Short Communication

Ultrastructural Description of Sarcocystis Sp. in Cardiac Muscle of Naturally Infected Alpacas (Vicugna pacos)


Background: Recently, it was proposed the name of Sarcocystis masoni n. sp. for the Sarcocystis that causes microcyst in skeletal muscle of South American camelids. However, there are no ultrastructural reports of microcysts of Sarcocystis in cardiac muscle of alpacas. This study reports ultrastructural features of microcysts of Sarcocystis sp. from cardiac muscle of naturally infected alpacas.

Methods: Thirty alpacas (age range: three to five years) from the province of Junin, Peruvian Central Andes, were included in this study in January 2015. Cardiac muscle samples were evaluated by histology and transmission electron microscopy.

Results: Bradyzoites in cysts had typical characteristics of Apicomplexa including organelles, a large nucleus, micronemes, dense bodies, and polysaccharide granules. Moreover, cysts had a thin wall with numerous, short, finger-like shapes with rounded tip protrusions (0.51 x 0.17 µm).

Conclusion: Sarcocystis sp. from the heart and S. masoni n. sp. from the skeletal muscle have similar ultrastructural characteristics.

Fayer R. Sarcocystis spp. in human infections. Clin Microbiol Rev 2004; 17:894–902.

Lucas JR. [Sarcocystosis as a public health problem]. Peruv J Parasitol (Peru) 2013; 21:20-31.

Schneider T, Kaup FJ, Drommer W, Thiehl W, Rommel M. Zur feinstruktur und entwicklung von Sarcocystis aucheniae beim lama. Zeitschrift für Parasitenkunde 1984; 70:451–458.

Leguía G. The epidemiology and economic impact of llama parasites. Parasitol Today 1991; 7:54-56

La Perle K, Silveria F, Anderson DE, Blomme E. Dalmeny disease in an alpaca (Lama pacos): Sarcocystosis, eosinophilic myositis and abortion. J Comp Path 1999; 121:287–293.

Lucas JR. [Sarcocystis spp. in Peru]. Peruv J Parasitol (Peru) 2012; 20:64-73.

Moré G, Regensburger C, Gos ML, Pardini L, Verma SK, Ctibor J, Serrano-Martínez ME, Dubey JP, Venturini MC. Sarcocystis masoni, n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae), and redescription of Sarcocystis aucheniae from llama (Lama glama), guanaco (Lama guanicoe) and alpaca (Vicugna pacos). Parasitology 2016; 143(5):617-26.

Tenter A, Johnson A. Phylogeny of the tissue cyst-forming coccidia. Adv Parasitol 1997; 39:70–139.

Odening K. The present state of species-systematics in Sarcocystis Lankester, 1882 (Protista, Sporozoa, Coccidia). Syst Parasitol 1998; 41:209–233.

Ghaffar FA, Hilali M, Scholtyseck E. Ultrastructural studies of Sarcocystis fusiformis (Railliet 1897) infecting the Indian water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) of Egypt. Tropenmed. Parasitol 1978; 29:283– 294.

Dubey JP, Rosenthal BM, Morales JA, Alfaro A. Morphologic and genetic characterization of Sarcocystis sp. from the African grey parrot, Psittacus erithacus, from Costa Rica. Acta Parasitol 2006; 51:161–168.

Dubey JP, Humphreys G, Fritz D. A new species of Sarcocystis (Apicomplexa: Sarcocystidae) from the black bear (Ursus americanus). J Parasitol 2008; 2:496–949.

Dubey JP, Morales JA. Morphologic characterization of Sarcocystis sp. sarcocysts from the Buffon's macaw (Ara ambigua). Acta Parasitol 2006; 5:231–237.

Hilali M, El-seify M, Zayed A, El-Morsey A, Dubey JP. Sarcocystis dubeyi (Huong and Uggla 1999) infection in water buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) from Egypt. J. Parasitol 2011; 97:527–528

Moré G, Abrahamovich P, Jurado S, Bacigalupe D, Marin JC, Rambeaud M, Venturini L, Venturini MC. Prevalence of Sarcocystis spp. in Argentinean cattle. Vet. Parasitol 2011; 177(1-2):162-5.

Dubey JP, Hilali M, Van Wilpe E, Calero-Bernal R, Verma SK, Abbas IE. A review of sarcocystosis in camels and redescription of Sarcocystis cameli and Sarcocystis ippeni sarcocysts from the one-humped camel (Camelus dromedarius). Parasitology 2015; 142:1481–1492.

IssueVol 14 No 1 (2019) QRcode
SectionShort Communication(s)
Alpacas Apicomplexa Sarcocystis Transmission electron microscopy Heart

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
LUCAS JR, BARRIOS-ARPI M, RODRÍGUEZ J, BALCÁZAR-NAKAMATSU S, ZARRIA J, NAMIYAMA G, TANIWAKI N, GONZALES-VIERA O. Ultrastructural Description of Sarcocystis Sp. in Cardiac Muscle of Naturally Infected Alpacas (Vicugna pacos). Iran J Parasitol. 2019;14(1):174-179.