Our main aims were to investigate hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) expression in the surrounding invasion range of hepatic alveolar echinococcosis (HAE) lesions and determine the pathological basis of angiogenesis. In total, 23 Wistar rats with hepatic echinococcus multilocularis infection were killed and their livers, which contained 27 HAE lesions, obtained. Specimen segments were generated from 119 paraffin blocks. Comparative analysis of the tissue samples containing HAE nodules and hepatic parenchyma of the surrounding region was performed with the immunohistochemical SP method in this animal experiment. Expression patterns of HIF-1α in the surrounding invasion range and the hepatic parenchyma were compared. The HIF-1α positive expression rate was 97.5% (116/119 samples). Expression of HIF-1α in the actively multiplying infiltrative region of the HAE lesions was significantly higher than that in hepatic parenchyma (P < 0.05). Overexpression of HIF-1α in the actively multiplying infiltrative region of HAE lesions in rats is closely related to angiogenesis and microvasculature. The sensitivity of HIF-1α facilitates its application as a representative maker of HAE. Our data indicate that the invasion range of HAE lesions is based on extrusion and compression, and induces anoxia and ischemia in hepatic tissue. Thus, HIF-1α provides a valuable index for evaluating HAE activity, and induces anoxia and ischemia in hepatic tissue.