Histomonas meleagridis: immunohistochemical localization of parasitic cells in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections of experimentally infected turkeys demonstrates the wide spread of the parasite in its host.
In the present investigation, a polyclonal antibody-based immunohistochemical technique was developed to localize Histomonas meleagridis in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues of experimentally infected turkeys. The developed technique was highly specific for histomonads as no immunohistochemical reaction was observed with cultures of Tetratrichomonas gallinarum, Trichomonas gallinae and Blastocystis sp. In addition, tissues positive for various other protozoan parasites and fungi were also tested to evaluate the specificity of the technique. It was possible to detect immunohistochemically histomonad antigens in all the tested samples (n=5) of caecum, liver, spleen and lung from infected turkeys, 3 out of 5 bursa of Fabricius, 1 out of 2 bone marrow, 2 out of 5 heart and 1 out of 5 each of proventriculus, pancreas and cerebellum. An immunohistochemical reaction indicative of presence of histomonads was also detected in blood vessels of various organs that indicated a possible hematogenous route of spread of the parasite in the host. A comparative study with routine diagnostic staining techniques indicated a high sensitivity and specificity of the newly developed immunohistochemical technique. Altogether, the technique developed can be used to study the sequential pathogenesis of histomonosis in turkeys and to obtain new insights into the mechanisms of interaction with the host tissues.