Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Rice grains - cysticercosis

Lesions on plain radiographs (X-rays) or computed tomography (CT) scans resembling rice grains may be seen in cysticercosis. Commonly, cysticercosis results from consumption of food (including fruits and vegetables) or water contaminated with Taenia solium (pig tapeworm) eggs.
These eggs reach the small intestine, ‘hatch’, and the resulting embryos (oncospheres) enter the intestinal wall and spread via the blood stream to, for example, the brain, muscles and eyes. The embryos then develop into larvae (cysticerci) which over time die and become calcified because of the body’s immune response to them. The dead larvae, particularly in muscle, resemble rice grains on X-rays or CT scan.
Ortega CD et al. Helminthic Diseases in the Abdomen: An Epidemiologic and Radiologic Overview. Radiographics, 2010 30(1):253-67. Go to reference


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