Molecular characterization and histo-physiological alterations induced by concurrent helminthosis in the liver of urban commensal rodents in Punjab, India

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


Department of Zoology, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana-141004, India



Background: Rodents harbour a number of parasites of public health importance, thus, posing threat to human health and livestock. Aims: The present study aimed to characterize two helminthic species found in commensal rodents and record histo-physiological alterations induced by them. Methods: A total of 300 synanthropic rodents of three species; Rattus rattus (n=201), Bandicota bengalensis (n=90) and Mus musculus (n=09) were live trapped in different seasons during November, 2017 to October, 2019 at Ludhiana (Punjab), India and necropsied. Results: Liver of two species, B. bengalensis (72.22%) and R. rattus (65.67%) were found infected with two helminthic parasites, Taenia taeniaeformis and Calodium hepaticum. These endoparasites were present either alone (4.33-6.33%) or as mixed infection (65.55%). The level of total proteins and liver marker enzymes including aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were found significantly higher in the liver of rodent species infected with single and mixed infection compared to those with no infection. In histopathological assay, granulomatous liver lesions and necrosis of hepatocytes associated with eggs and adults of C. hepaticum and inflammatory reaction in hepatic parenchyma adjoining to cysts of T. taeniaeformis were seen. Based upon SEM identification and molecular characterization using mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) region, the metacestode in whitish cysts was confirmed to be of T. taeniaeformis for the first time from Punjab, India. Conclusion: The study highlights an alarmingly high infection of rodents with zoonotic parasites and suggests immediate pest (rodent) control to check the dissemination of zoonotic diseases by helminth species under study.


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