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Ultrastructure of Cryptosporidium parvum Found in the Small Intestine of Immunosuppressed Mice

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Chai, Jong-Yil; Kim, Yoon Deok; Yun, Chong Ku; Yu, Jae-Ran; Kho, Weon-Gyu; Lee, Byung Lan; Lee, Soon-Hyung

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Seoul National University College of Medicine
Seoul J Med, Vol.33 No.1, pp. 31-38
UltrastructureCryptosporidium parvumMouseImmunosuppression
The ultrastructure of various stages of Cryptosporidium parvum was
observed by transmission electron microscopy. C. parvum infection was activated in the
small intestine of Korean laboratory mice (fCR) by immunosuppression with
prednisolone for 7 weeks. The oocyst discharge was confirmed by modified Kinyon's
acid fast stain of fecal specimens. Various endogenous stages of parasites, i. e.,
trophozoites, meronts, merozoites, and macrogametocytes, were observed in the middle
part of the small intestine, as an extracytoplasmic but intracellular parasite of host
mucosal epithelial cells. In trophozoites, a large nucleus with a prominent nucleolus
was seen, and as they developed into meronts, endoplasmic reticulum appeared prominently
in the cytoplasm. Two kinds of meronts, type I and type II, with eight and four
merozoites respectively, were found. New merozoites were produced by nuclear division
and external budding of the residual body of the meronts. The merozoites were lined
with two unit membranes, unlike C. muris that has three membranes, and a nucleus
was located near the posterior end. Mature merozoites had conoids, rhoptries and numerous
micronemes; the characteristic structures of coccidian parasites. Macrogametocytes
were largely vacuolated and "wall-forming body I" was recognized. Other
sexual stages were difficult to recognize from our specimens. The present study confirmed
that the Cryptosporidium found in the small intestine of Korean laboratory mice
has a characteristic ultrastructure consistent with C. parvum.
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