The radioresistance of Anisakis simplex third-stage larvae and the possible role of sublethal radiation on superoxide dismutase (SOD) were investigated. Larvae were isolated from the viscera of the sea eel Anago anago; irradiated with 10, 100, 200, 500, or 1,000 Gy; and then given orally to rats. Worms were recovered at 16 hr postinoculation. Most larvae were found to have invaded the gastric wall, omentum, and abdominal cavity, suggesting that their viability and infectivity were not controlled by irradiation with the doses used. To determine the relationship between SOD activities in parasites and their radiosensitivities, the larvae of A. simplex and the metacercariae of Neodiplostomum seoulense (a radiosensitive control) were irradiated with 0, 30, 100, or 500 Gy, and parasite SOD levels were measured. In nonirradiated A. simplex larvae, the average SOD level was 38.9 U/mg, and this increased to 51.3 U/mg at 500 Gy. However, at all radiation doses applied, SOD activities of N. seoulense metacercariae were significantly (P < 0.05) lower than those of A. simplex larvae. Our results demonstrate that A. simplex third-stage larvae are radioresistant, and suggest that SOD plays a role in this radioresistance.

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