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Infection of immunocompetent mice with acid-water-pretreated Cryptosporidium parvum results in weight loss, and intestinal (structural and physiological) alterations


Cryptosporidiosis, caused by Cryptosporidium, causes self-limited diarrhea in normal hosts but may cause life-threatening diarrhea in immunocompromised persons. Cryptosporidium-induced manifestations, including weight-loss and intestinal physiological alterations are not noted in adult immunocompetent mice. So far, studies that have been used to test the therapeutic efficacy of drugs have been performed using various immunocompromised animal models. There is an urgent need of an immunocompetent small animal model that portrays Cryptosporidium-induced manifestations. In the current studies, we have compared two Cryptosporidium parvum pretreatment methods, we have hence used sodium hypochlorite or acidic water to treat Cryptosporidium parvum, followed by infection by oral gavage in adult immunocompetent C57BL6 mice. We demonstrated manifestations such as weight loss, intestinal structural and physiological alterations such as intestinal, villi blunting, and glucose malabsorption (as studied by the Ussing chamber technique) only in response to infection with C. parvum that has been treated with acidic water and not with sodium hypochlorite. These novel studies reveal that acidic water treatment of C. parvum results in manifestations of cryptosporidiosis in otherwise resistant immunocompetent mice. The current studies open up possibilities of using the normal immunocompetent mice model to test therapeutic drugs against cryptosporidiosis.

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These studies were supported by the National Institutes of Health, 1 R21 AI054205–01 to P. Robinson. We would like to thank John Wright and Dr. Ana Moran for assistance with statistical analysis. The experiments comply with the current laws of the USA where they were performed.

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Correspondence to Prema Robinson.

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An erratum to this article can be found at

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Garza, A., Castenallos-Gonzalez, A., Griffiths, J. et al. Infection of immunocompetent mice with acid-water-pretreated Cryptosporidium parvum results in weight loss, and intestinal (structural and physiological) alterations. Parasitol Res 102, 457–463 (2008).

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  • Infected Group
  • Acidic Water
  • Sodium Hypochlorite
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Cryptosporidium Parvum