Letter | Published:

An extravascular site of development of Trypanosoma congolense

Naturevolume 272pages613614 (1978) | Download Citation



TSETSE-TRANSMITTED African pathogenic trypanosomes are thought to be divisible into two groups because of their distribution in the mammalian host and the characteristic lesions they produce during infection1. Trypanosoma brucei brucei and related subspecies have a wide distribution in the body, parasitising the intercellular fluids, connective tissue and parenchymatous tissues, and the fluids of body cavities2–4, whereas T. vivax and T. congolense are considered to be strictly plasma parasites, confined to the circulatory system5,6. It has been shown, however, that local skin reactions develop at the sites of bites of tsetse flies infected with T. congolense, and fluid expressed from reaction sites contains trypanosomes several days before they can be detected in the peripheral blood7–9. We have recently examined the development of T. congolense in local reactions and give evidence here from light and electron microscopy that the trypanosomes develop in connective tissue. The multiplication and persistence of trypanosomes at the site of infection have important implications in relation to immunogenesis and might also play a part in the pathogenesis of the ensuing disease and the efficiency of chemotherapy.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Losos, G. J. & Ikede, B. O. Vet. Path. 9 (Suppl.). 1–71 (1972).

  2. 2

    Goodwin, L. G. Trans R. Soc. trop. Med. Hyg. 65, 82–88 (1971).

  3. 3

    Ikede, B. O. & Losos, G. J. Vet. Path. 9, 272–277 (1972).

  4. 4

    Ormerod, W. E. in The African Trypanosomiases (eds Mulligan, H. W. & Potts, W. H.) 587–601 (George, Allen & Unwin, London, 1970).

  5. 5

    van den Ingh, T. S. G. A. M., Zwart, D., Schotman, A. J. H., van Miert, A. S. J. P. A. M. & Veenendaal, G. H. Res. vet. Sci. 21, 264–270 (1976).

  6. 6

    Losos, G. J., Paris, J., Wilson, A. J. & Dar, F. K. Bull. epizoot. Dis. Afr. 21, 239–248 (1973).

  7. 7

    Bolton, M. A. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Rep. to Govt UK, No. TA 2895 (Rome, 1970).

  8. 8

    Roberts, C. J., Gray, M. A. & Gray, A. R. Trans R. Soc. trop. Med. Hyg. 63, 620–624 (1969).

  9. 9

    Uilenberg, G., Maillot, L. & Giret, M. Revue Elev. Med. vet. Pays trop. 26, 27–35 (1973).

  10. 10

    Fiennes, R. N. T. W. Ann. trop. Med. Parasit. 44, 222–237 (1950).

  11. 11

    Fiennes, R. N. T. W. Br. vet. J. 108, 298–306 (1952).

  12. 12

    Tizard, I. R. & Holmes, W. L. Experientia 32, 1533–1534 (1976).

  13. 13

    Tizard, I. R., Nielsen, K., Mellors, A. & Assoku, R. K. Lancet i, 750–751 (1977).

  14. 14

    Wolbach, S. B. & Binger, C. A. L. J. med. Res. 27, 83–107 (1912).

  15. 15

    Hirumi, H., Doyle, J. J. & Hirumi, K. Science 196, 992–994 (1977).

Download references

Author information


  1. Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian, UK

    • A. G. LUCKINS
    •  & A. R. GRAY


  1. Search for A. G. LUCKINS in:

  2. Search for A. R. GRAY in:

About this article

Publication history



Issue Date



Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.