How trematodes cause limb deformities in amphibians

Geffrey F. Stopper, Louise Hecker, R. Adam Franssen, Stanley K. Sessions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


We used trematode cyst infestation to induce limb deformities in two species of frogs of the genus Rana and compared them to deformities induced by surgical limb bud rotations. The specific deformities produced by both treatments closely resemble those of wild-caught deformed amphibians and are consistent with a known developmental response to disruption of the spatial organization of cells in developing limb buds. Histological analysis showed that trematode cysts cause massive disruption and abnormal cellular growth involving the limb buds of infected individuals. Our results indicate that trematode cyst infestation causes deformities in frogs by perturbation of the positional relationships of cells in developing limb buds. The crippling effects of cyst-infection on frogs may reflect complex co-evolutionary interactions among trematodes, frogs, and other hosts in the trematode's life cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-263
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 15 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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