Trichomonas vaginalis, a flagellated protozoan parasite, is commonly found in the genitourinary tract of humans. Its mode of reproduction has always been reported to be binary fission. The high parasite numbers seen in a relatively short period in in vitro cultures led us to believe that there must be other modes of reproduction. The present study for the first time provides transformational evidence at the ultrastructural level seen in tropohozoites of T. vaginalis undergoing a multiple asexual mode of reproduction. The findings show that the single cell with a nucleus is capable of dividing to as many as eight nuclei within the cytoplasmic body. Before the commencement of division, the nucleus remained round or ovoid in shape with condensed chromatin masses and only a few endoplasmic reticula surrounding the nucleus. During the division, the nucleus started to elongate and become irregular in shape with visible chromatin masses condensing with the accumulation of numerous endoplasmic reticula. Nuclear division gave rise to as many as eight nuclei within a cell, which could be seen to be connected by numerous endoplasmic reticula. In addition, a high number of hydrogenosomes and vacuoles can be seen in multinucleated T. vaginalis compared with single nucleated T. vaginalis. This study confirms that multiple modes of nuclear division do exist in T. vaginalis and are a precursor to progeny formation.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.