Encephalitozoon-like organisms in patients with alveolar hydatid disease: cell culture, ultrastructure, histoimmunochemical localization and seroprevalence

J Eukaryot Microbiol. Sep-Oct 1995;42(5):518-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.1995.tb05899.x.


We found Encephalitozoon-like organisms in an in vitro culture of a human liver lesion which was due to larval Echinococcus multilocularis. The organisms developed in the same fashion as an Encephalitozoon cuniculi. The spores that developed in parasitophorous vacuoles were 2.0-2.6 x 1.1-1.5 microns; each contained a single nucleus and 4-5 polar tubule coils, closely resembling E. cuniculi in its ultrastructure. Mature spores were collected from the supernatants by the use of Percoll centrifugation resulting in the banding of the spores on continuous gradients. We prepared three sorts of spores which were different in buoyant density in 0.15 M NaCl: 1.05-1.07 g/ml spores, 1.12 g/ml spores, and spores of over 1.14 g/ml. Polyclonal antibodies to a pool of each spore preparation were produced in a rabbit and applied to the detection of microsporidian antigen in situ. The histoimmunoperoxidase (HIP) procedure was used to detect the microsporidian antigen in echinococcal liver lesions from patients with alveolar hydatid disease (AHD). Ten echinococcal liver lesions from different AHD patients were examined and four were found to be positive in the HIP test. The Percoll-separated spores were also used as an antigen to detect for antibodies in the sera from the patients with AHD by Western blotting. Antibodies were detected in 62 (52%) of the 119 AHD patients and in only 8 (5%) of the 159 normal healthy individuals.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Antigens, Protozoan / analysis
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Child
  • Cross Reactions
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / complications
  • Echinococcosis, Hepatic / parasitology*
  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi / immunology
  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi / isolation & purification*
  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi / ultrastructure
  • Encephalitozoonosis / complications
  • Encephalitozoonosis / parasitology*
  • Humans
  • Liver / parasitology*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Rabbits
  • Spores


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Antigens, Protozoan