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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2004 Apr 19;56(6):869-84.

Host intestinal epithelial response to Cryptosporidium parvum.

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Department of Veterinary PathoBiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, 1988 Fitch Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.


Cryptosporidium parvum is an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite that is a well-recognized cause of diarrhea in humans and animals throughout the world, and is associated with a substantial degree of morbidity and mortality in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). C. parvum primarily infects epithelial cells of the gastrointestinal tract, resulting in acute watery diarrhea for which there is no effective therapy. During infection, all parasite development, sexual or asexual, occurs within epithelial cells of the host. This requires a unique and complex association between two distinct eukaryotic organisms. Conversely, due to the intracellular nature of C. parvum, epithelial cells appear to play a key role in activating and communicating with the host immune system. Delineation of the biochemical processes that are regulated within infected epithelial cells is crucial for understanding the pathology of C. parvum infection, the process by which the host clears and ultimately develops resistance to infection, and the development of chemotherapeutic strategies to intercede infections.

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