Isolation and identification of Encephalitozoon hellem from an Italian AIDS patient with disseminated microsporidiosis

APMIS. 1994 Nov;102(11):817-27.


Microsporidia are primitive mitochondria-lacking spore-forming eukaryotic protozoa that infect a wide variety of animals and also humans. Of the five genera (Encephalitozoon, Enterocytozoon, Septata, Nosema and Pleistophora) that cause infections in humans, Enterocytozoon bieneusi, Septata intestinalis, and Encephalitozoon hellem are being increasingly identified in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). E. bieneusi causes gastrointestinal disease, S. intestinalis causes gastrointestinal and disseminated disease, and E. hellem causes ocular as well as disseminated disease. We have established in continuous culture a strain of microsporidia isolated from the urine and throat washings of an Italian AIDS patient and identified it as Encephalitozoon hellem, based on its ultrastructural morphology, antigenic pattern, and polymerase chain reaction-amplified small subunit ribosomal RNA. We believe that this is the first time that a strain of microsporidia has been isolated from the throat washings of a patient with microsporidiosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / parasitology*
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • DNA Primers
  • Encephalitozoon / growth & development
  • Encephalitozoon / isolation & purification*
  • Encephalitozoon / ultrastructure
  • Encephalitozoonosis / complications*
  • Encephalitozoonosis / parasitology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Italy
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pharynx / parasitology
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Vero Cells


  • DNA Primers
  • RNA, Ribosomal

Associated data

  • GENBANK/L19070