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Gastroenterology. 1995 Apr;108(4):1030-9.

Temporal changes in permeability and structure of piglet ileum after site-specific infection by Cryptosporidium parvum.

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Department of Pathology, School of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, Massachusetts.



Cryptosporidiosis is an important enteric infection associated with diarrhea in humans. The structural and functional basis for diarrhea is poorly understood. The aim of the study was to determine the structural and functional basis of diarrhea in cryptosporidiosis during evolving host cell-parasite interactions in the intestine.


We used the piglet model for temporal studies of alterations in intestinal epithelial structure and function that occurred 12-48 hours postinoculation. Segments of intestine were directly inoculated in vivo, harvested, and studied in vitro using Ussing chamber techniques.


Villus architectural alterations corresponded to the extent of infection. Increased numbers of lamina propria inflammatory cells were evident at 36 hours postinoculation. Solute and macromolecular permeability was not increased. Glucose-responsive short-circuit current was diminished at 48 hours postinoculation. The short-circuit current response to theophylline was the same in control and infected tissues.


We conclude that passive solute and macromolecular permeability in infected tissues is not significantly increased during parasite-host cell interactions 12-48 hours postinoculation. Electrogenic glucose stimulated Na+ absorption, a function principally of villus absorptive cells, is impaired, and electrogenic Cl- secretion, a function of crypt epithelial cells, remains the same. These findings parallel structural observations that include loss of the Na+/glucose-transporting villus epithelium without loss of crypt epithelium.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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