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Parasite Immunol. 1991 Jan;13(1):31-47.

Free-living amoebae: pathogenicity and immunity.

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Department of Immunology, Adelaide Children's Hospital, Australia.


Free-living amoebae causes three well-defined disease entities: (i) primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, caused by Naegleria fowleri, (ii) granulomatous amoebic encephalitis and (iii) chronic amoebic keratitis, caused by species of Acanthamoeba. Both Naegleria infections and chronic amoebic keratitis occur in healthy individuals while granulomatous amoebic encephalitis is often associated with patients with acquired immunodeficiencies. The different pathogenic behaviour of these organisms is associated with differences in life cycle, amoeboidal locomotion, enzyme composition (such as phospholipase A), and cytotoxins, as well as natural host immunity. Immunity against these amoebae (whether acquired or natural) involves a combination of complement, antibody and cell-mediated immunity. Evidence suggests that the major mechanisms of immunity against these amoebae is activation of phagocytic cells, especially neutrophils, by lymphokines and opsonization of the amoebae by antibody which promote an antibody dependent cellular destruction of the organism.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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