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Host-pathogen interaction in amebiasis and progress in vaccine development

Host-pathogen interaction in amebiasis and progress in vaccine development

European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases 17(9): 601-614

Entamoeba histolytica, the causative organism of invasive intestinal and extraintestinal amebiasis, infects approximately 50 million people each year, causing an estimated 40 to 100 thousand deaths annually. Because amoeba only infect humans and some higher non-human primates, an anti-amebic vaccine could theoretically eradicate the organism. Uncontrolled epidemiologic studies indicate that acquired immunity to amebic infection probably occurs and that such a vaccine might be feasible. Application of molecular biologic techniques has led to rapid progress towards understanding how Entamoeba histolytica causes disease, and to the identification of several amebic proteins associated with virulence. These proteins are now being evaluated as potential vaccine components. Parenteral and oral vaccine preparations containing recombinant amebic proteins have been effective in preventing disease in a gerbil model of amebic liver abscess. Although systemic and mucosal cellular and humoral immunity both appear to play a role in protection against Entamoeba histolytica, the relative importance of each in the human immune response remains unknown. No animal model of intestinal amebiasis currently exists, moreover, so it has been impossible to evaluate protection against colonization and colitis. Further investigation of the fundamental mechanisms by which Entamoeba histolytica causes disease and of the human immune response to amebic infection is necessary to assess the true feasibility of an anti-amebic vaccine.

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Accession: 003162120

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PMID: 9832261

DOI: 10.1007/bf01708342

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