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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2000 Feb 15;183(2):331-6.

Intact Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts isolated after in vitro excystation are infectious to neonatal mice.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alta, Canada.


In vitro excystation is often used as a measure of viability of encysted protozoan parasites. Parasites that do not excyst in vitro are assumed to be non-viable and non-infectious, whereas those that do excyst are assumed viable. To test the validity of these assumptions, Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts were excysted in vitro using two different excystation protocols, and the non-excysted intact oocysts were isolated using flow cytometry. Non-excysted sorted oocysts readily infected neonatal CD-1 mice. Increasing the duration of the excystation assays from 1 h to 3 h resulted in a higher percent of excysted oocysts, but the remaining non-excysted parasites were still capable of infecting neonatal CD-1 mice. Our results suggest that in vitro excystation is not an accurate measure of the viability or infectious potential of C. parvum oocysts.

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