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Ann Trop Med Parasitol. 1999 Sep;93(6):613-20.

Use of urine samples from healthy humans, nephritis patients or other animals as an alternative to foetal calf serum in the culture of Leishmania (L.) donovani in vitro.

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Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Kochi Medical School, Japan.


The effect of supplementing in-vitro cultures of Leishmania donovani with urine was investigated. The parasites were isolated from Bangladeshi patients with visceral leishmaniasis. The urine samples used were collected from healthy human donors, patients with nephrotic syndrome, diabetic nephritis (DN) or diabetes mellitus, a dog and a cow. Promastigotes from blood-agar cultures were inoculated into RPMI-1640 basal medium with 10% heat-inactivated foetal calf serum (FCS) and/or 1%-20% urine. The parasites were then counted in a haemocytometer, on days 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and 14 post-inoculation. From day 4, the numbers of parasites/ml in cultures containing 5% healthy-human urine but no FCS were at least as high as those in cultures containing 10% FCS but no urine (P = 0.191). The wet weights of parasites harvested from mass cultures of the parasites in RPMI-1640 plus 5% healthy-human urine and in RPMI-1640 plus 10% FCS were practically the same. Multiplication of the parasites in the presence of 5% urine from a DN patient was significantly greater (P < 0.01) than that seen with other urine samples at the same concentration or with 10% FCS. The multiplication seen with 8% canine urine was almost the same as with 5% healthy-human urine. Parasites could be maintained in RPMI-1640 plus 5% healthy-human urine for at least 40 days, sub-culturing every 4 days. Urine may be a better and much cheaper stimulant of Leishmania multiplication in vitro than FCS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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