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Korean J Parasitol. 2016 Aug;54(4):447-53. doi: 10.3347/kjp.2016.54.4.447. Epub 2016 Aug 31.

Isolation and Genotyping of Acanthamoeba spp. as Neglected Parasites in North of Iran.

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Molecular and Cell Biology Research Center, Sari Medical School, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Mazandaran Province, 48175-1683, Iran.
Toxoplasmosis Research Center (TRC), Sari Medical School, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Mazandaran Province, 48175-1665, Iran.


Acanthamoeba, a free-living amoeba, is widely distributed in the environment, water sources, soil, dust, and air. It can cause keratitis in contact lens wearers with poor hygiene and also fatal granulomatous amebic encephalitis (GAE) in immunocompromised hosts. The aim of this study was to gain some insights into the distribution and genotypes of the potentially pathogenic species of Acanthamoeba present in water sources in north of Iran. Total 43 Acanthamoeba species were isolated from 77 water samples taken from different water sources within the Mazandaran province in Northern Iran (Sari city and suburbs). Isolates were identified based on cyst and trophozoite morphological characteristics as well genetics. PCR fragments corresponding to the small-subunit 18S rRNA gene were sequenced for 20 of 43 positive isolates. The results revealed that 83.3% of sequenced isolates belonged to the T4 genotype and the rest belonged to the T2 genotype. Our results indicated that Acanthamoeba is widely distributed in Sari city. As the incidence in Iran of amoebic keratitis has increased in recent years, the exact estimation of the prevalence of this amoeba and its predominant genotype may play a crucial role in prevention of the disease. Sari city has several rivers, seashores, and natural recreational amenities, which attract visitors during the year. This is the first report of Acanthamoeba genotypes from water sources in Sari city, Mazandaran province of Iran, and the results suggest that more attention is needed to protect the visiting population and immunocompromised individuals.


Acanthamoeba; Iran; genotyping; parasitic infection

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