Genomic analysis of Blastocystis hominis strains isolated from two long-term health care facilities

J Clin Microbiol. 2000 Apr;38(4):1324-30. doi: 10.1128/JCM.38.4.1324-1330.2000.


The genotype Blastocystis hominis is highly polymorphic. Therefore, a genetic marker would be a powerful tool for the identification or classification of B. hominis subtypes and could be used as a means to resolve the transmission route or origin of the parasite. To this end, 32 B. hominis isolates were collected from patients and/or staff members of two long-term health care facilities (facilities A and B), and these organisms were subjected to genotype analysis based on diagnostic PCR primers and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of small subunit rRNA gene (rDNA). Based on PCR amplification using diagnostic primers which were developed from randomly amplified polymorphic DNA analysis of known strains of B. hominis, the 32 isolates of B. hominis were classified into three different subtypes. Thirty isolates, including twenty-four that were isolated from patients and a staff member, from facility A and all isolates isolated from six patients from facility B showed the same genotype. Two of six patients of facility B had been transferred from facility A, and these two patients also had the same-genotype B. hominis that corresponded to 24 isolates from facility A. This genotype strain may have been transmitted by these two patients from facility A to facility B, suggesting human-to-human transmission. In contrast, 2 of 26 isolates from facility A showed distinct genotypes, suggesting that the colonization by these two isolates is attributable to another infectious route. These different subtypes were subjected to RFLP analysis, and the RFLP profiles were correlated with the results obtained by diagnostic PCR primers. This study presents the first molecular evidence of possible human-to-human B. hominis infection between and/or among two small communities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blastocystis Infections / diagnosis
  • Blastocystis Infections / parasitology*
  • Blastocystis hominis / classification*
  • Blastocystis hominis / genetics*
  • Blastocystis hominis / isolation & purification
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Protozoan / analysis
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / analysis
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific / metabolism
  • Genes, rRNA
  • Genome, Protozoan
  • Health Facilities*
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA Primers
  • DNA, Protozoan
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Deoxyribonucleases, Type II Site-Specific
  • GANTC-specific type II deoxyribonucleases
  • GTAC-specific type II deoxyribonucleases