Brugia malayi: Effects of gamma radiation on adult worms and their intracellular Wolbachia bacteria

Ramakrishna U. Rao, Laura J. Atkinson, Robert P. Vanderwall, Gary J. Weil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Prior studies have shown that intracellular Wolbachia endobacteria are necessary for the normal development, reproduction, and survival of filarial nematodes. The purpose of this study was to examine effects of gamma radiation on Wolbachia and reproduction in Brugia malayi adult worms. Worms were exposed to 0, 10, 25, 45, 75, and 105 krad of gamma radiation from a 137cesium source and cultured in vitro for 10 days. Irradiation reduced production of microfilariae in a dose-dependent manner. Embryograms of irradiated female worms showed dose-related abnormalities with arrested development at the early embryo stage. Irradiation reduced the viability of adult worms in a dose-dependent manner, but no lethal effect was observed. Electron microscopy studies showed that irradiation cleared Wolbachia from worm tissues. Real-time polymerase chain reaction studies demonstrated greatly reduced Wolbachia DNA in irradiated worms. These effects are essentially the same as those observed in adult worms treated with doxycycline. These studies suggest that effects of irradiation on reproduction in Brugia malayi may be caused by effects of irradiation on Wolbachia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-93
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Brugia malayi
  • Embryogenesis
  • FCS, fetal calf serum
  • Filarioidea
  • Irradiation
  • L3, third stage larva
  • MF, microfilaria
  • MTT, 3-(4,5-dimethyl-thiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide
  • Nematode
  • Real-time PCR
  • Reproduction
  • Wolbachia
  • krad, kilorads


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