An extraordinary endocytobiont in Acanthamoeba sp. isolated from a patient with keratitis

Parasitol Res. 2008 Apr;102(5):945-50. doi: 10.1007/s00436-007-0858-3. Epub 2008 Jan 22.


In the present article, the detection and the development of a parasitic endocytobiont within host amoebae (Acanthamoeba sp.) recently isolated from the contact lens and the inflamed eye of a patient with keratitis is presented. An otherwise healthy 55-year-old female patient presented with keratitis in her inflamed left eye. She was a contact lens wearer and had no history of a corneal trauma. Acanthamoebae as well as other smaller free-living amoebae could be detected from the fluid of the contact lens storage cases by culture methods. A successful therapy could be provided consequently. Two of these Acanthamoeba strains showed intracellular aggregating organisms. Within 2 to 3 days, the host amoebae ruptured, and numerous microorganisms were released. We succeeded in detecting the mechanism of infection and intrusion of this organisms by using light and electron microscopy. Infection with this endocytobiont is a suitable model for studying the host-parasite relations while the parasites use their hosts as so-called Trojan horses (see Barker, Lambert, Brown, Infect Immun 61:3503-3510, 1992).

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acanthamoeba / classification
  • Acanthamoeba / growth & development
  • Acanthamoeba / isolation & purification*
  • Acanthamoeba / microbiology*
  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis / parasitology*
  • Animals
  • Contact Lens Solutions
  • Contact Lenses, Hydrophilic / parasitology
  • Culture Media
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Middle Aged
  • Symbiosis*
  • Trophozoites / microbiology
  • Trophozoites / parasitology
  • Trophozoites / ultrastructure


  • Contact Lens Solutions
  • Culture Media