Eight groups of rats were used to study the involvement of the enteric (ENS) and central (CNS) nervous systems in the development of Hymenolepis diminuta using surgical intestinal transection, or CNS denervation, or both procedures. The transection procedure was used to isolate the ENS of the small intestine from either orad and/or caudal portions of the alimentary system, while the CNS denervation was used to eliminate direct visceral efferent inputs from the CNS. Nine days after the surgical procedures, all rats were infected with 35 cysticercoids of H. diminuta. On 20 days postinfection, the infection intensity, tapeworm dry weight, tapeworm morphology, intestine length, and intestinal wet weight were recorded. Only the combination of the duodenal and ileal transections with a CNS denervation reduced infection intensity and prevented the increased intestinal length normally observed in infected rats. In contrast, none of the various intestinal transection procedures alone or CNS denervation alone had any effect on the survival, ability to produce oncospheres or morphology of the tapeworms. In conclusion, tapeworm survival is decreased when both CNS and ENS inputs into the small intestine are altered or absent.

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