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Int J Parasitol. 1998 Dec;28(12):1823-8.

Isolation in immunodeficient mice of Sarcocystis neurona from opossum (Didelphis virginiana) faeces, and its differentiation from Sarcocystis falcatula.

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US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Livestock and Poultry Sciences Institute, BARC, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350, USA.


Sarcocystis neurona was isolated in nude mice and gamma-interferon knockout mice fed sporocysts from faeces of naturally infected opossums (Didelphis virginiana). Mice fed sporocysts became lethargic and developed encephalitis. Protozoa were first found in the brain starting 21 days post-inoculation. Sarcocystis neurona was recovered in cell culture from the homogenate of liver, spleen and brain of a nude mouse 11 days after feeding sporocysts. The protozoa in mouse brain and in cell culture multiplied by schizogony and mature schizonts often had a residual body. Sarcocystis falcatula, which has an avian-opossum cycle, was not infective to nude or knockout mice. Protozoa were not found in tissues of nude mice or knockout mice after subcutaneous injection with culture-derived S. falcatula merozoites and sporocysts from the faeces of opossums presumed to contain only S. falcatula. Results demonstrate that S. neurona is distinct from S. falcatula, and that opossums are hosts for both species.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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