An electron microscopic study of intra-erythrocytic stages of Babesia bovis in the brain capillaries of infected splenectomized calves

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 13
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    Splenectomized vaccine donor calves undergoing primary reactions to Babesia bovis infections may develop cerebral babesiosis which leads to death if not treated in time. A brain biopsy was performed on an artificially-infected animal showing nervous symptoms and the tissue was immediately processed for electron microscopic examination. Virtually every erythrocyte in the brain capillaries sectioned was infected with B. bovis. Intra-erythrocytic merozoites, trophozoites and dividing trophozoites were identified. Important features of the piriform merozoites included a reduced apical complex consisting of the anterior polar ring, microtubules, rhoptries and micronemes. Unidentified membrane-bound bodies, mostly spherical in shape, were observed anterior to the nucleus. The trophozoites showed very little structural differentiation and no food vacuoles or micropores could be detected. Each trophozoite produced 2 identical merozoites and the parent cell became totally incorporated in the daughter merozoites in the multiplication process. Projections were seen radiating from the surface of infected erythrocytes which appeared to adhere to other surfaces on contact. This probably resulted in the sludging of infected erythrocytes in the capillaries. The latter observations coincide with those described for Babesia argentina.