In vitro encystation and excystation of Blastocystis ratti

Parasitology. 1999 Feb;118 ( Pt 2):151-60. doi: 10.1017/s0031182098003667.


Cysts of Blastocystis ratti were produced in vitro by culturing the parasite in Iscove's modified Dulbecco's medium (IMDM) with increasing concentrations of horse serum. Yields up to 3 x 10(6) cysts/ml of culture medium were obtained after 72 h. Encystation efficiency was time, strain and inoculum size dependent. A viability of > 70% was determined by flow cytometry employing fluorescein diacetate and propidium iodide staining. The presence of chitin as a cyst wall component was demonstrated by Calcofluor White M2R staining with which cystic stages showed blue fluorescence. The changes in morphology during excystation were examined by transmission electron microscopy. The cyst enlarged in size and some vacuoles appeared within the condensed cytoplasm. The vacuoles were full of inclusions and small glycogen aggregates. Coalescence of the vacuoles led to central body formation. Glycogen deposits were prominent throughout the excystation process. Some cysts divided by binary fission before the completion of the excystation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzenesulfonates
  • Blastocystis / growth & development*
  • Blastocystis / isolation & purification
  • Blastocystis / ultrastructure
  • Blastocystis Infections / parasitology
  • Culture Media
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluoresceins
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Propidium
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Benzenesulfonates
  • Culture Media
  • Fluoresceins
  • Propidium
  • C.I. Fluorescent Brightening Agent 28
  • diacetylfluorescein