Veterinary parasitology

The effect of a parenteral ivermectin/closantel injection on the growth and reproductive development of early immature Fasciola hepatica in cattle.

PMID 16901648


Sixteen calves approximately 6 months old were each infected with 500 metacercariae of Fasciola hepatica. Thirty-two days later they were weighed and divided into two groups, and on day 35 all calves in one of the groups were injected subcutaneously with an ivermectin/closantel combination. Both groups were sacrificed between days 70 and 72 to enable counting and examination of the flukes recovered from the bile ducts. Eggs released by the flukes were collected for incubation, hatching and estimation of egg viability. Flukes were counted, flat-fixed in 70% ethanol, stained with catechol and carmine and measured. The reproductive organs, namely testis, vitelline glands, ovary and uterus, were examined and scored on a 0-3 scale according to their state of development. This was visually assessed on the basis of size, distribution and staining density of their constituent tissues and the abundance of eggs in the uterus. A representative sample of flukes from each animal was fixed in formalin for histological sectioning to enable more detailed examination of the reproductive structures. Treatment of the immature flukes reduced the population in cattle by 42.6% as compared with the controls and as a result of the stunting effect due to the presence of closantel during early development the size of treated flukes was reduced by 43.9%. A bimodal pattern of size and reproductive score was also observed in flukes from treated cattle, suggesting that the stunting effect on individual flukes differed depending on whether or not they had gained access to the bile ducts or were still migrating in the hepatic parenchymal tissue at the time of drug exposure with the effect being greater once the fluke had gained access to the bile ducts. The mean reproductive score for untreated flukes was 8.76 and for treated flukes 5.64, a 35.6% reduction. This difference was highly significant (p<0.001). Egg shedding from treated flukes was significantly less than that from controls (p<0.05), but there were no differences in hatchability, suggesting that whilst drug treatment reduced the energy supply available for gametogenesis/oogenesis, it did not induce functional defects in the gonads or accessory reproductive organs. Histological examination confirmed that there was a reduction in development of testes, ovaries and vitellaria in treated flukes, with a consequent reduction in egg production. In the treated flukes, early spermatogonia and oogonia were the predominant cell types in the testes and ovary, whilst undifferentiated stem cells were abundant in the vitelline follicles. In untreated flukes, cells representing more advanced stages in gametogenesis and vitellogenesis predominated in the respective organs. It is likely that this inhibition of gametogenesis and vitellogenesis was caused by the effects of closantel treatment on intermediary metabolism in the flukes. Clearly these effects were evident even at a relatively early stage of fluke growth, and because of the impact on egg output may have epidemiological importance in addition to the reduction in fluke numbers.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

Closantel, PESTANAL®, analytical standard