Cerebral and non-cerebral coenurosis: on the genotypic and phenotypic diversity of Taenia multiceps

Georgios Christodoulopoulos, Anke Dinkel, Thomas Romig, Dennis Ebi, Ute Mackenstedt, Brigitte Loos-Frank

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14 Citations (Scopus)


We characterised the causative agents of cerebral and non-cerebral coenurosis in livestock by determining the mitochondrial genotypes and morphological phenotypes of 52 Taenia multiceps isolates from a wide geographical range in Europe, Africa, and western Asia. Three studies were conducted: (1) a morphological comparison of the rostellar hooks of cerebral and non-cerebral cysts of sheep and goats, (2) a morphological comparison of adult worms experimentally produced in dogs, and (3) a molecular analysis of three partial mitochondrial genes (nad1, cox1, and 12S rRNA) of the same isolates. No significant morphological or genetic differences were associated with the species of the intermediate host. Adult parasites originating from cerebral and non-cerebral cysts differed morphologically, e.g. the shape of the small hooks and the distribution of the testes in the mature proglottids. The phylogenetic analysis of the mitochondrial haplotypes produced three distinct clusters: one cluster including both cerebral isolates from Greece and non-cerebral isolates from tropical and subtropical countries, and two clusters including cerebral isolates from Greece. The majority of the non-cerebral specimens clustered together but did not form a monophyletic group. No monophyletic groups were observed based on geography, although specimens from the same region tended to cluster. The clustering indicates high intraspecific diversity. The phylogenetic analysis suggests that all variants of T. multiceps can cause cerebral coenurosis in sheep (which may be the ancestral phenotype), and some variants, predominantly from one genetic cluster, acquired the additional capacity to produce non-cerebral forms in goats and more rarely in sheep.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4543-4558
Number of pages16
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral coenurosis
  • Mitochondrial genes
  • Molecular
  • Muscular coenurosis
  • Non-cerebral coenurosis
  • Taenia gaigeri
  • Taenia multiceps
  • Taenia skrjabini

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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