, Volume 91, Issue 3, pp 197-203
Date: 16 Aug 2003

Evidence for the absence of an intestinal adaptive mechanism to compensate for C. parvum-induced amino acid malabsorption in suckling rats

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In order to assess the impact of Cryptosporidium parvum on host intestinal physiology, we investigated absorption of the two principal amino acids in dam′s milk (leucine, glutamate), using Ussing chambers and RT-PCR analyses. Experiments were performed in both heavily (ileum) and mildly (duodenum) infected segments of the small intestine at the peak of infection [day 8 post-infection (PI)] and after spontaneous clearance of the parasite (day 17 PI). At day 8 PI, amino acid fluxes across the mucosa were decreased throughout the small intestine (P<0.01) and EAAT3 mRNA expression was reduced ( from −49% to −28%). At day 17 PI, leucine and glutamate fluxes were normalized but the decrease in EAAT3 mRNA levels persisted (from −31% to −46%). Our results demonstrate that cryptosporidiosis induces major amino acid malabsorption involving the entire small intestine which is not counterbalanced by any up-regulation, even after spontaneous clearance of the parasite.