Macrostomum Lignano was discovered in 1995 on a beach bordering the city of Lignano (Italy). Its natural habitat is the high-tide interstitial sand fauna of the Northern Adriatic Sea beaches.
With the support of the Eugene Berezikov team (ERIBA, Netherlands), Macrostomum cultures (NL10 strain) have been introduced in the lab in 2016.
Macrostomum lignano (wikipedia) is an emerging invertebrate model that possesses many advantages over the classical worm models such as Caenorhabditis elegans (nematodes), Schmidtea mediterranea or Dugesia japonica (Planaria). In particular, this platyhelminth is extensively studied for its regeneration properties in order to address fundamental questions regarding stem cell biology, regeneration, and aging.
All developmental stages are also quite easy to observe. Macrostomum is transparent and most organs can be observed macroscopically with a simple inverted binocular microscope. Appropriate staining of entire worms allows observation of deep structures and cellular organization of organs using confocal microscopy (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1. Whole mount image of 3 weeks old adult Macrostomum lignano using in-house modified carmin red staining.
Video. 3D reconstruction of Macrostomum testis (630X) using AiryScan module (Zeiss)