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Parasitol Res. 1997;83(2):170-6.

In vivo and in vitro experimental intestinal amebiasis in Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus).

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Department of Experimental Pathology, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN, México DF, Mexico.


One of the main drawbacks of experimental amebiasis is the lack of an adequate animal model for invasive intestinal lesions. Mongolian gerbils are useful because both intestinal and hepatic amebiasis can be produced experimentally with Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites. In this paper we show results obtained with in vivo and in vitro models of intestinal amebiasis in gerbils. We inoculated gerbils intracecally with monoxenic cultures of a highly virulent E. histolytica HM1:IMSS substrain. In the in vivo model an increase in mucus production was observed during the first 6 h of interaction. Microulcerative mucosal lesions appeared at 24-72 h postinoculation. Inflammatory infiltrate and edema of the lamina propria were associated with superficial foci of necrosis. At 96 h the cecal mucosa had an almost normal appearance and live amebas were no longer detected. In the in vitro model, early damage was detected in cecal strips mounted in Ussing chambers as a rapid fall in potential difference, short-circuit current, and transepithelial resistance that correlated with the extent of the microscopic lesions produced. The latter consisted of cellular edema and the appearance of small, translucent vacuoles at the base of epithelial cells. Further damage led to loss of intercellular junctions, destruction of interglandular epithelial cells, and edema of the lamina propria. The present results demonstrate that the gerbil is useful as an experimental model for the analysis of early stages of invasive intestinal amebiasis both in vivo and in vitro.

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