Morphological effects on helminth parasites caused by herbicide under experimental conditions

Abstract Helminth parasites have been studied as potential accumulators for different pollutants. Echinostoma paraensei is a foodborne trematode whose vertebrate host, the rodent Nectomys squamipes, is naturally exposed to environmental pesticides. However, little information exists regarding the pesticide’s effects on helminths. This study investigated the morphological effects on the trematode, E. paraensei, after experimental Roundup® herbicide exposure, in concentrations below those recommended for agricultural use. After two hours of exposure, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed changes to the tegument, such as furrowing, shrinkage, peeling, spines loss on the peristomic collar, and histopathological evidence of altered cells in the cecum and acinus vitelline glands with vacuoles and structural changes to the muscular layers. Glycidic content was decreased, primarily in the connective tissue. As E. paraensei is an intestinal parasite of the semi-aquatic wild rodent, N. squamipes, it is predisposed to pesticide exposure resulting from agricultural practices. Therefore, we emphasize the need to evaluate its impact on helminth parasites, due to their pivotal role in regulating host populations.