Maintenance of Dispersed Reproductive Cells from Male and Female Ascaris suum


  • Michael W. Fleming
  • Patricia Boyd


In vitro cultivation of tissues and cells provides an experimental methodology to define and manipulate physiological mechanisms that are not possible with in vivo techniques. Tissues from the germinative-growth zones of adult Ascaris suum gonads were excised and minced, and then enzymatically dispersed and transferred to an artificial, perienteric fluid-fetal calf-serum-medium complex. Cells were maintained in a viable state for 8 days, with medium replacement every 48 hours. During this period, morphological changes in the gonadal cells included decreased size, dedifferentiation, and degeneration. Two indices of metabolism, evolution of¹[sup4]CO[sub2] from radiolabelled glucose and reduction of the tetrazolium salt MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium), decreased by approximately 50% and 60%, respectively. The in vitro procedures developed provide the first opportunity to examine specific cellular functions of nematode reproductive tissues over an extended period of time. Key words: Ascaris suum, cultivation, nematode, parasite, reproduction.