Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Seven to nine days after infection of the definitive host (rat) by cystacanths, the genital primordium of the female acanthocephalan is transformed from a fragmented mass of cells into discrete ovarian balls. This is accomplished by envelopment of free germinal cells by somatic tissue which originates from the ligament sac primordium. Germinal cell nuclei then undergo repeated mitoses until about 21 days of development, with concurrent formation of oogonial syncytia which occupy the interior of the ovarian balls. Oocytes, derived from these oogonia, move to the periphery of the germinal syncytia for differentiation, growth, fertilization, shell formation, and release from the ovarian ball. After oogonial proliferation ceases, continued growth of the ovarian ball apparently results from increase in size of already present cells.Free-floating mature ovarian balls are found in the dorsal ligament sac; each consists of germ cells in various developmental stages, enveloped and pervaded by a multinucleate matrix syncytium of somatic origin, which functions as a follicle. Spermatozoa pass through the matrix cell for the internal fertilization of mature oocytes. Myelinated structures of an undetermined nature were found to correspond to previously reported polar bodies. After 100 days post-infection, the somatic matrix syncytium begins to manifest the degenerative effects of aging. The germinal tissue exhibits no subcellular signs of senescence by 154 days, but decreases in amount in older worms.
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