A massive systematic infection of Encephalitozoon cuniculi genotype III in mice does not cause clinical signs

Microbes Infect. 2020 Oct;22(9):467-473. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2020.06.004. Epub 2020 Jun 21.


Encephalitozoon cuniculi genotype III disseminated intensively into most of the organs in all strains of mice, followed by a chronic infection with massive microsporidia persistence in immunodeficient mice and a partial decrease in C57Bl/6 mice. Treatment with 0.2 mg Albendazole/mouse/day temporarily reduces the number of affected organs in immunocompetent C57Bl/6 mice, but not in CD4-/- and CD8-/- mice. The application of medication temporarily decreased the spore burden at least by one order of magnitude in all groups. These results demonstrate that the E. cuniculi genotype III infection had a progressive course and surprisingly, Albendazole treatment had only a minimal effect. The E. cuniculi genotype III spore burden in individual organs reached up to 108 or 109 in immunocompetent or immunodeficient mice, respectively; however, these mice did not demonstrate any obvious clinical signs of microsporidiosis, and the immunodeficient mice survived longer. Our findings clearly show that the survival of mice does not correspond to spore burden, which provides new insight into latent microsporidiosis from an epidemiological point of view.

Keywords: Albendazole; C57Bl/6 mice; CD4(−/−) mice; CD8(−/−) mice; Encephalitozoon cuniculi genotype III.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albendazole / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • CD4 Antigens / genetics
  • CD8 Antigens / genetics
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi / genetics*
  • Encephalitozoonosis / drug therapy
  • Encephalitozoonosis / microbiology*
  • Encephalitozoonosis / pathology
  • Genotype*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Vero Cells


  • CD4 Antigens
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Albendazole