Full text loading...
Chapter 9.9 : Culture
Entamoeba histolytica, the agent of intestinal and hepatic amebiasis, can be cultivated in conjunction with the bacteria voided in feces by the infected patient. Although cultures for E. histolytica are not routinely offered by most clinical laboratories, this approach may be helpful when routine procedures have failed to provide a diagnosis. Polyxenic cultured organisms can also be used to produce intestinal and hepatic amebiasis in susceptible experimental hosts such as hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. Axenic cultivation of organisms is invaluable for the following: (i) to study the biochemistry, physiology, and metabolism of the organisms in order to establish nutritional requirements of the parasites; (ii) to produce antigens of and monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies against E. histolytica for serological diagnosis as well as other immunologic studies; (iii) to differentiate pathogenic from nonpathogenic strains by using isoenzyme electrophoresis, monoclonal antibody, and/or DNA probes; (iv) to screen drugs in vitro to identify isolates susceptible and resistant to particular drugs so that advances in chemotherapy can be evaluated; (v) to infect experimental animals to produce the disease so that pathological processes can be understood; and (vi) to understand the organization of the parasite at the ultrastructural level.