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J Parasitol. 1979 Jun;65(3):430-3.

Susceptibility of five strains of mice to Babesia microti of human origin.


One outbred (CF1) and four inbred (BALB/c, C57, CBA and C3H) strains of mice were tested for susceptibility to Babesia microti of human origin. Of these, intact C3H mice developed higher parasitemia than all other intact mice, while BALB/c mice developed the highest parasitemia among splenectomized mice. Susceptibility was not related to H-2 haplotype in any obvious way. Because C3H and BALB/c mice developed relatively high initial peak parasitemias, the parasite was serially passaged in both of these mouse strains in an attempt to increase parasite virulence. After 30 passages in BALB/c and 49 passages in C3H mice over a period of 12 months, maximum parasitemias were 50 times higher than those observed initially. After the peak parasitemias of these two mouse-adapted parasites had stabilized, the relationship between onset and level of maximum parasitemia and number of parasites inoculated was determined. With both C3H- and BALB/c-adapted parasites, as inoculum size increased, the time required to reach maximum parasitemia decreased and the level of maximum parasitemia increased. Studies involving infection of either mouse strain with parasites adapted to the heterologous mouse strain indicated that C3H mice were more susceptible than BALB/c mice to homologous or heterologous parasites. These data suggest that the virulence of B. microti to the mouse can be increased by prolonged passage in this host. Once adaptation to this host species has occurred, virulence appears to be more dependent on the innate susceptibility of the mouse strain than on adaptation of the parasites to a particular strain of mouse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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