Parasitology Research

, Volume 116, Issue 10, pp 2877–2882 | Cite as

Molecular characterization of Enterocytozoon bieneusi isolates in laboratory macaques in north China: zoonotic concerns

  • Hang Yang
  • Yongchao Lin
  • Yijing Li
  • Mingxin Song
  • Yixin Lu
  • Wei LiEmail author
Short Communication


The significance of wild and zoo nonhuman primates (NHPs) as potential sources of human Enterocytozoon bieneusi infections has been increasingly appreciated, while the role of laboratory NHPs in zoonotic transmission of microsporidiosis remains elusive. In this study, the infection rate, genetic characteristic, and zoonotic potential of E. bieneusi were investigated for 205 laboratory macaques in Beijing, north China. The parasite was identified in 37 (18.0%) animals by nested PCR and sequencing of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS), with an infection rate of 25.6% in Macaca fascicularis (34/133) and 4.2% in Macaca mulatta (3/72). The differences in infection rate between the two species of macaques and between young macaques aged ≤ 5 years (29.6%, 32/108) and adults aged > 5 years (5.2%, 5/97) were significant (p < 0.01). Analysis of the ITS sequence polymorphisms recognized eight known genotypes (CC4, CM1, CM2, D, Peru8, Peru11, Type IV, and WL21) and two new genotypes (named as CMB1 and CMB2), with well-known human-pathogenic genotypes (D, Peru8, Peru11, and Type IV) most frequently detected. The rest genotypes (CC4, CM1, CM2, WL21, CMB1, and CMB2) were clustered into zoonotic group 1 in phylogenetic analysis. The high diversity and widespread presence of the human-pathogenic or group 1 E. bieneusi genotypes in laboratory NHPs, notably M. fascicularis and the young animals, suggest potential of zoonotic transmission. These findings imply that laboratory rhesus macaques could be significant reservoirs for human microsporidiosis.


Enterocytozoon bieneusi Macaques Infection rate Genotyping Zoonotic potential 



This study was supported by grants from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (no. 2017YFD0501300) and the “Academic Backbone” Project of Northeast Agricultural University (no. 16XG15).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heilongjiang Key Laboratory for Zoonosis, College of Veterinary MedicineNortheast Agricultural UniversityHarbinChina

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