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Parasitol Res. 2014 Apr;113(4):1465-72. doi: 10.1007/s00436-014-3787-y. Epub 2014 Feb 18.

Blastocystis tropism in the pig intestine.

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United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), 10300 Baltimore Avenue, Bldg. 173, Beltsville, MD, 20705, USA,


Blastocystis has been reported in pig feces but the sites of development in the gastrointestinal tract are unknown. The present study was undertaken to determine predilection sites of Blastocystis in 11 naturally infected pigs examined at 20 weeks of age. At necropsy, feces and contents of the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, and cecum were examined by immunofluorescence (IFA) microscopy and PCR and tissues from these sites as well as the proximal and distal colon were processed for histology from pigs 1 to 5. Feces were examined by IFA microscopy, and segments from the jejunum and ileum were processed for histology from pigs 6 to 11. Multiple sections were cut from each tissue segment, and each was stained with the following: hematoxylin and eosin, polyclonal rabbit antibody to Blastocystis, and ParaFlor B monoclonal antibody to Blastocystis. Blastocystis was detected in feces of all 11 pigs by IFA microscopy and determined by PCR and gene sequencing to be subtype 5 for pigs 1-5. Blastocystis was also detected in the lumen contents removed from the cecum of pigs 1-5 examined by IFA microscopy and in the cecum of pigs 4 and 5 by PCR. Blastocystis was also observed in tissue sections from the jejunum of 7 of the 11 pigs, in the proximal and distal colon of pigs 1-5, and in the cecum of 4 of these 5 pigs but was not detected in the duodenum or ileum of any pigs. In tissue sections, Blastocystis was found primarily in the lumen usually associated with digested food debris, sometimes in close proximity or appearing to adhere to the epithelium, but no stages were found to penetrate the epithelium or the lamina propria.

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