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J Eukaryot Microbiol. 1998 May-Jun;45(3):265-72.

Entamoeba dispar: ultrastructure, surface properties and cytopathic effect.

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Departamento de Patología Experimental, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN, Mexico.


The cytological features of Entamoeba dispar, recently recognized by biochemical and molecular biology criteria as a distinct species, were compared to those of Entamoeba histolytica When cultured under axenic conditions, living trophozoites of E. dispar strain SAW 76ORR clone A were more elongated in form, had a single frontal pseudopodium, and showed a noticeable uroid. In sections of E. dispar trophozoites stained with Toluidine blue, characteristic areas of cytoplasmic metachromasia were seen due to the presence of large deposits of glycogen, seldom found in E. histolytica strain HM1:IMSS. Under the light microscope the periphery of the nucleus in E. dispar was, lined by finer, more regularly distributed dense granules. With transmission electron microscopy the surface coat of E. dispar was noticeable thinner. In addition. E. dispar had a lower sensitivity to agglutinate with concanavalin A and a higher negative surface charge, measured by cellular microelectrophoresis. The cytopathic effect of E. dispar was much slower, analyzed by the gradual loss of transmural electrical resistance of MDCK epithelial cell monolayers mounted in Ussing chambers. Whereas in E. histolytica phagocytosis of epithelial cells plays an important role in its cytopathic effect. E. dispar trophozoites placed in contact with MDCK cells showed only rare evidence of phagocytosis. The results demonstrate that the morphology of E. dispar is different to that of E. histolytica, both at the light microscopical and the ultrastructural levels. In addition they show that E. dispar in axenic culture has a moderate cytopathic effect on epithelia] cell monoLayers. However, when compared to E. histolytica, the in vitro lytic capacity of E. dispar is much slower and less intense.

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