a1 Department of Parasitology, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool L3 5QA, UK.
A number of in vitro culture systems were tested for their ability to support the development of Dirofilaria immitis infective larvae to the fourth larval stage. In cultures of medium ML-15 containing a feeder layer of Dog Sarcoma (DS) cells larvae successfully moulted and showed a small but significant increase in length. Ultrastructural observations demonstrated that the fourth-stage cuticle was synthesized in vitro and in some larvae was fully formed by 60 hours of culture. The hypodermis of moulting larvae contained numerous multi-vesicular bodies. It is concluded that the moult in vitro is a true moult and not an atypical response of the larvae to the conditions of culture.
(Accepted June 06 1984)