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J Parasitol. 1982 Dec;68(6):1110-6.

Cytopathogenicity of Naegleria fowleri and Naegleria gruberi for established mammalian cell cultures.


Amebae of Naegleria fowleri and Naegleria gruberi were cytopathic for nine established mammalian cell cultures, including mouse and human fibroblasts, rabbit and monkey kidney cells, rat and mouse neuroblastoma cells, baby hamster kidney cells, and human epithelioma and carcinoma cells. Nine strains of N. fowleri were equally cytopathic for rodent neuroblastoma cells. As few as one ameba per million neuroblastoma cells destroyed the mammalian target cells after 9 days. The N. fowleri grew and destroyed rat neuroblastoma cells at 30 to 37 C whereas N. gruberi grew and destroyed the target cells at 25 to 30 C. Both N. fowleri and N. gruberi attached efficiently to the target cells at 30 to 37 C; N. gruberi but not N. fowleri attached efficiently at 25 C. Electron microscopic observations of mixed cultures of N. fowleri and neuroblastoma cells established that the amebae, after 12 hr, had ingested portions of the neuroblastoma target cells without causing cell lysis. Conversely, N. gruberi amebae, after attaching to target cells, disrupted the plasma membrane and cytoplasm of the target cells although the target cell nucleus remained intact. The amebae then ingested the target cell debris.

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