Established criteria for morphological typing of sarcocysts was applied to a large series of cases of human skeletal muscle sarcocystosis in Malaysia to determine the type of sarcocyst present. We also wanted to test the general usefulness of this classification and to determine if there are any new cyst types. Three-dimensional (3-D) reconstruction was done to see if the sarcocyst has a distinct 3-D morphology. A total of 66 sarcocysts from 21 cases of human muscle sarcocystosis obtained from a previous prevalence study were examined. Tissue sections (5 microns thick) were stained with haematoxylin and eosin and studied under the light microscope. For 3-D reconstruction, an image analyser was used to align and reconstruct the sarcocyst after microscopic images had been captured with a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera. All the cysts best fit into the type 4 category. This classification is generally useful, although cyst wall characteristics and zoite size appear to be the most reliable criteria for classification. The cyst width averaged 77 microns (range, 30-137.5 microns). Cyst walls were smooth, had no cytophaneres and were less than 1 micron thick. No secondary cyst wall or surrounding inflammation was evident. Numerous cyst merozoites with diameters averaging 1 micron filled the cyst lumen. Although septa were not apparent, in many cysts, zoites were arranged in a unique, curvilinear fashion that suggested their presence. 3-D reconstruction showed the sarcocyst to be a long, tortuous "cylinder" with no branching or other distinguishing feature.
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