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Exp Parasitol. 2010 Sep;126(1):73-8. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2010.02.004. Epub 2010 Feb 8.

Acanthamoeba castellanii: morphological analysis of the interaction with human cornea.

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School of Superior Studies Iztacala, UNAM. Los Reyes Iztacala, Tlalnepantla, Mexico State, Mexico.


The present study demonstrates that when Acanthamoeba castellanii trophozoites are co-cultivated with isolated human corneas, the amoeba can be invasive and cause damage to the intact corneal epithelium without the requirement of previous corneal abrasion. After adhesion, A. castellanii trophozoites migrate between cells forming bumps on the corneal cell layers and reaching Bowman s membrane in 3h, although no evidence of cell damage was observed until the phagocytic process was detected. Likewise, conditioned medium produced damage to the corneal cells that was proportional to the time of incubation, but this cytophatic effect involved only the most superficial layer of the human cornea and was not enough to explain amoebic invasion of Bowman s membrane. As a result of our observations, we suggest that the mechanical action of the trophozoites and phagocytosis of corneal cells during the process of corneal invasion are more important than previously suggested.

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