Neurocysticercosis (NCC), the infection of the human central nervous system (CNS) with larval cysts of Taenia solium causes widespread neurological morbidity. Animal models are crucial for studying the pathophysiology and treatment of NCC. Some drawbacks of current NCC models include differences in the pathogenesis of the model and wild-type parasite, low rates of infection efficiency and lack of reproducibility. We describe a novel porcine model that recreates infection in the CNS with high efficiency. Activated oncospheres, either in a high (45,000-50,000) or low (10,000) dose were inoculated in the common carotid artery of 12 pigs by ultrasound-guided catheterization. Following oncosphere injection, either a high (30 mL) or low (1-3 mL) volume of saline flush was also administered. Cyst burden in the CNS was evaluated independently according to oncosphere dose and flush volume. Neurocysticercosis was achieved in 8/12 (66.7%) pigs. Cyst burden in the CNS of pigs was higher in the high versus the low oncosphere dose category (median: 4.5; interquartile ranges [IQR]: 1-8 and median: 1; IQR: 0-4, respectively) and in the high versus the low flush volume category (median 5.5; IQR: 1-8 and median: 1; IQR: 0-2, respectively), although not statistically different. All cysts in the CNS were viable, whereas both viable and degenerated cysts were found in the musculature. Carotid injection of activated oncospheres in pigs is effective in reproducing NCC. Oncosphere entry into the CNS by way of vasculature mimics wild-type infection, and provides a useful alternative for future investigations on the pathogenesis and antiparasitic treatment of NCC.
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Copyright © 2018 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.