Chronic polymyositis associated with disseminated sarcocystosis in a captive-born rhesus macaque

Alfonso S. Gozalo, R. J. Montali, M. St. Claire, B. Barr, D. Rejmanek, J. M. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


A 2-year-old, captive-born, clinically healthy male, rhesus macaque, was euthanatized as part of an experimental study. At necropsy, diffuse pale streaking of the trunk, lumbar, and limb muscles were noted macroscopically. On histology, numerous elongated cysts that contained crescent-shaped basophilic spores were found in the fibers of skeletal muscles. Scattered affected myofibers were degenerate and accompanied by eosinophilic-to-granulomatous inflammation. Sarcocysts had prominent villus-like projections with the morphology of a type 11 sarcocyst wall similar to Sarcocystis neurona but possessing many more villus microtubules than is reported for S. neurona. In addition, bradyzoites were very long, up to approximately 12 μm in length. The protozoa were consistent with a Sarcocystis sp., based on histology and ultrastructure, however, a definitive identification of the species was not possible. Nonspecific immunohistochemical crossreaction with Sarcocystis cruzi antisera was observed. The 18S ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid sequence showed 91% similarity to Sarcocystis hominis, 90% similarity to Sarcocystis buffalonis, and 89% similarity to Sarcocystis hirsuta. Interestingly, the ITS1 sequence showed very little homology to any sequence in GenBank, suggesting that this is possibly a unique Sarcocystis sp. Sarcocystosis is often considered an incidental finding, particularly in wild-caught animals, with little clinical significance. However, as demonstrated in this report and others, disseminated sarcocystosis can occur in captive-born rhesus macaques with or without clinical signs. In some cases interference with research results can occur; including death in fulminant cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-699
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • ITS1
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Light microscopy
  • Macaque
  • Myositis
  • Sarcocystis spp.
  • Sequence analysis
  • Ultrastructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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