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Arch Med Res. 2006 Feb;37(2):203-9.

Pathogenesis of acute experimental liver amebiasis.

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Department of Experimental Medicine, National Autonomous University Medical School, Mexico City, Mexico.


Classical descriptions of the pathology of amebiasis portray the parasite as the cause of tissue damage and destruction, and in recent years a number of amebic molecules have been identified as virulence factors. In this review we describe a series of experiments that suggest a more complex host-parasite relation, at least during the early stages of acute experimental amebic liver abscess in hamsters. The problems of extrapolating experiments in vitro to explain observations in vivo are discussed. The role of amebic cysteine proteases is examined and evidence presented to suggest that they are primarily related not to tissue damage but to amebic survival, which is required for the progression of the lesion. Inflammation is shown to be not only the major cause of tissue damage but also an absolute requirement for amebic survival in the liver, whereas complement and ischemia are not involved in the disappearance of the parasite in the absence of inflammation.

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