News on Wellness

Parasitic Amoeba Creates Havoc To Our Intestines!

Entamoeba histolytica

Diarrhea and dysentery are common issues faced by many developing countries. Until recently the mayhem that could be treated by Entamoeba histolytica was understood by a team of researchers from University of Virginia, Charlottesville. Team led by Dr. William Petri, were able to visualize parasitic amoeba destroying human intestinal cells, within minutes under microscope. These single celled organisms are a true menace to speak off. In a Petridish, when human cells were infected with amoeba, it took the parasites ten minutes before the cell membranes were torn out and internal components spelled out.

Entamoeba histolytica

In the complete finding, published in Nature today scientists have termed this as trogocytosis. This mode of damaging and killing live cells though slow death is possible after making the human cells stressed and then sheared off into individual bites.  The accumulated physical damage eventually makes the live cells lose their membrane integrity and they perish. The same mode of operation is employed by the brain-eating amoeba, Naegleria fowleri. Thus within months and even years, the patient’s condition is irreversible. This leads to liver abscesses and ulcers.

Amoeba, use their cytoskeleton to engulf the living cells and take chunks out. The Virginia research group is trying to develop a vaccine to protect children. By targeting a molecule on surface of parasite that controls nibbling, scientist hopes to block it. Microbiologists have revealed that similar microbes which cause stomach upset, like cholera and E. coli, release toxins in the stomach or intestinal walls.

However, brain-eating amoeba and parasitic amoeba damages tissue using inflammation and hoarding nutrients. Nibbling allows amoeba in movement, and to invade further. Unfortunately, this parasite is common and spreads through contaminated food and water. It takes millions of life annually due to colitis and dysentery especially in tropical regions and nations with poor sanitation. Lower immune system also helps the parasite to grow and show signs six months after infection.

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