In this study, we compared the morphology of Sarcocystis sinensis and Sarcocystis hominis, and assessed the infectiousness of S. sinensis for human volunteers. The cysts of S. sinensis were from water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) and those of S. hominis were from cattle (Bos taurus). Transmission electron microscopy of S. sinensis cysts revealed that the cyst wall had leaning, finger-like protrusions measuring 1.44-5.08 μm in length and without invaginations on the tip surface of the protrusions. In contrast, the cyst wall of S. hominis had upright, finger-like protrusions measuring 9.43 μm × 2.42 μm and with vesicle-like invaginations on the tip surface of the protrusions. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that surface of the protrusions was arranged as rectangles in S. sinensis, as compared to tongue-shaped in S. hominis. Other distinguishing features of S. sinensis include a thin ground substrate (GS) zone with microtubules and small, circle-like structures located at the base of the protrusions. Human volunteers, after consuming S. sinensis cysts, produced no sporocysts or oocysts in feces, suggesting that humans could not serve as definitive hosts for S. sinensis. By contrast, many sporocysts and oocysts were passed in feces of a human volunteer 11-29 days after ingestion of S. hominis cysts. These results showed that S. sinensis and S. hominis are separate species and S. sinensis cannot use human being as the definitive host.
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