, Volume 96, Issue 5, pp 326-330
Date: 28 May 2005

Cryptosporidium infection impairs growth and muscular protein synthesis in suckling rats

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This study aimed to explore the metabolic consequences of cryptosporidiosis in an acute experimental model both at the peak of infection and after parasite clearance. Four-day-old suckling rats were infected with 106 oocysts of Cryptosporidium parvum . At the peak of infection (day 8 PI), C. parvum resulted in a dramatic reduction both in nutrient intake (−50%) and body weight (16.3±5.2 vs 27.3±1.0 g, P<0.01) with a decrease in both lean body mass and adipose tissue. Muscular fractional and absolute synthesis rate were reduced (−15 and −55%, respectively). After parasite clearance (day 17 PI), body weight remained reduced in formerly infected animals (37.8±8.0 vs 47.8±4.2 g, P<0.01) whereas nutrient intake normalized and fractional synthesis rate slightly increased (+22%) compared to controls. Overall, our results show that the impact and consequences of cryptosporidiosis are far greater than generally appreciated, leading to major malnutrition in suckling rats.