Human exposure to Toxocara spp. is very frequent, and its larvae can cross the blood–brain barrier and invade the central nervous system (CNS), causing neurotoxocariasis. We aimed to establish a neurotoxocariasis animal model in pigs confirmed by necropsy. Also, the presence of larvae in the CNS was assessed using magnetic resonance imagings (MRIs), to establish brain lesions caused by the larvae migration. Ten pigs were infected intraperitoneally with 3,000 Toxocara larvae. Cerebral toxocariasis was evaluated using MRIs at days 7, 14, 21, and 49, and pigs were euthanized after the examination. Brain tissues were examined by microscopy, and five pigs presented Toxocara, most frequently at day 21 after infection. None of the 10 pigs showed alterations on MRIs. Our study confirms that intraperitoneal Toxocara infection produces neurotoxocariasis in pigs. Toxocara larvae passage through the brain does not seem to produce lesions detectable at MRIs.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial support: This research was funded by the Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Advanced Technologies “G.F. Ingrassia,” the University of Catania, Italy (Piano Triennale di Sviluppo delle Attività di Ricerca Scientifica del Dipartimento 2016–2018) and the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (FIC-NIH training Grant TW001140).
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