Invited Review

In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 135-147

Animal cell cultures in microsporidial research: their general roles and their specific use for fish microsporidia

  • S. Richelle MonaghanAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of WaterlooDepartment of Biology, Wilfrid Laurier University Email author 
  • , Michael L. KentAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology, Oregon State University
  • , Virginia G. WatralAffiliated withDepartment of Microbiology, Oregon State University
  • , R. John KaufmanAffiliated withOregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon State University
  • , Lucy E. J. LeeAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • , Niels C. BolsAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of Waterloo

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The use of animal cell cultures as tools for studying the microsporidia of insects and mammals is briefly reviewed, along with an in depth review of the literature on using fish cell cultures to study the microsporidia of fish. Fish cell cultures have been used less often but have had some success. Very short-term primary cultures have been used to show how microsporidia spores can modulate the activities of phagocytes. The most successful microsporidia/fish cell culture system has been relatively long-term primary cultures of salmonid leukocytes for culturing Nucleospora salmonis. Surprisingly, this system can also support the development of Enterocytozoon bienusi, which is of mammalian origin. Some modest success has been achieved in growing Pseudoloma neurophilia on several different fish cell lines. The eel cell line, EP-1, appears to be the only published example of any fish cell line being permanently infected with microsporidia, in this case Heterosporis anguillarum. These cell culture approaches promise to be valuable in understanding and treating microsporidia infections in fish, which are increasingly of economic importance.


Microsporidia Fish In vitro Cell lines Life cycle Host-specificity