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Parasitol Int. 2004 Mar;53(1):35-47.

In vitro and in vivo interaction of Entamoeba histolytica Gal/GalNAc lectin with various target cells: an immunocytochemical analysis.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Pathology, Center for Research and Advanced Studies, National Polytechnic Institute, Cinvestav-IPN, Av. IPN 2508, Col. San Pedro Zacatenco, Mexico, D.F. 07360, Mexico.


The Gal/GalNAc lectin of Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites plays an important role in adhesion. The distribution and final destiny of the lectin during the interaction with host cells are poorly understood. Using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies against the lectin we studied by immunocytochemistry the in vitro and in vivo interaction of E. histolytica trophozoites with human and hamster hepatocytes. We also analyzed the presence and distribution of the lectin in a mouse model of intestinal amoebiasis. In all cases, trophozoites were highly labeled by anti-lectin antibodies. Cultured human and hamster hepatocytes in contact with, or localized at the vicinity of parasites were also labeled by anti-lectin antibodies. Most of the labeled hepatocytes showed variable degrees of cell damage. Hepatocytes distantly localized from the parasites were also stained with the anti-lectin antibodies. Immunolabeling of tissue sections from different stages of the development of experimental amoebic liver abscess in hamsters showed inflammatory foci containing lectin-labeled trophozoites, hepatocytes, and sinusoidal and inflammatory cells. Lectin-containing hepatocytes had vacuolated cytoplasm with some nuclei with a condensed appearance. Damaged intestinal epithelium also was labeled with anti-lectin antibodies in a mouse model of intestinal amoebiasis. Electron microscopy of axenically cultured trophozoites using gold-labeled monoclonal and polyclonal anti-lectin antibody showed that plasma membrane, vacuole membranes and areas of cell cytosol were labeled. Higher deposits of gold particles in plasma membrane suggestive of cell secretion were observed. Our results demonstrated that Gal/GalNAc lectin was bound and captured by different target cells, and that host cells containing the lectin showed signs of cell damage. The contribution of lectin transfer to host cells in adherence and cell injury remains to be determined.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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