Cryptosporidium species are apicomplexan protozoans that are found worldwide. These parasites constitute a large risk to human and animal health. They cause self-limited diarrhea in immunocompetent hosts and a life-threatening disease in immunocompromised hosts. Interestingly, Cryptosporidium parvum has been related to digestive carcinogenesis in humans. Consistent with a potential tumorigenic role of this parasite, in an original reproducible animal model of chronic cryptosporidiosis based on dexamethasone-treated or untreated adult SCID mice, we formerly reported that C. parvum (strains of animal and human origin) is able to induce digestive adenocarcinoma even in infections induced with very low inoculum. The aim of this study was to further characterize this animal model and to explore metabolic pathways potentially involved in the development of C. parvum-induced ileo-caecal oncogenesis. We searched for alterations in genes or proteins commonly involved in cell cycle, differentiation or cell migration, such as ?-catenin, Apc, E-cadherin, Kras and p53. After infection of animals with C. parvum we demonstrated immunohistochemical abnormal localization of Wnt signaling pathway components and p53. Mutations in the selected loci of studied genes were not found after high-throughput sequencing. Furthermore, alterations in the ultrastructure of adherens junctions of the ileo-caecal neoplastic epithelia of C. parvum-infected mice were recorded using transmission electron microscopy. In conclusion, we found for the first time that the Wnt signaling pathway, and particularly the cytoskeleton network, seems to be pivotal for the development of the C. parvum-induced neoplastic process and cell migration of transformed cells. Furthermore, this model is a valuable tool in understanding the host-pathogen interactions associated with the intricate infection process of this parasite, which is able to modulate host cytoskeleton activities and several host-cell biological processes and remains a significant cause of infection worldwide.
Our understanding of the correlation of Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-mediated immune responses and protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection is still limited. We have recently characterized a Wistar rat model of experimental tuberculosis (TB). In the present study, we evaluated the efficacy of BCG vaccination in this model. Upon Mtb challenge, BCG vaccinated rats controlled growth of the bacilli earlier than unvaccinated rats. Histopathology analysis of infected lungs demonstrated a reduced number of granulomatous lesions and lower parenchymal inflammation in vaccinated animals. Vaccine-mediated protection correlated with the rapid accumulation of antigen specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in the infected lungs. Immunohistochemistry further revealed higher number of CD8(+) cells in the pulmonary granulomas of vaccinated animals. Evaluation of pulmonary immune responses in vaccinated and Mtb infected rats by real time PCR at day 15 post-challenge showed reduced expression of genes responsible for negative regulation of Th1 immune responses. Thus, early protection observed in BCG vaccinated rats correlated with a similarly timed shift of immunity towards the Th1 type response. Our data support the importance of (i) the Th1-Th2 balance in the control of mycobacterial infection and (ii) the value of the Wistar rats in understanding the biology of TB.
Despite the availability of many animal models for tuberculosis (TB) research, there still exists a need for better understanding of the quiescent stage of disease observed in many humans. Here, we explored the use of the Wistar rat model for the study of protective immunity and control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection.
We recently demonstrated that Cryptosporidium parvum IOWA strain induces in situ ileo-caecal adenocarcinoma in an animal model. Herein, the ability of another C. parvum strain to induce digestive neoplasia in dexamethasone-treated SCID mice was explored. SCID mice infected with C. parvum TUM1 strain developed a fulminant cryptosporidiosis associated with intramucosal adenocarcinoma, which is considered an early histological sign of invasive cancer. Both evidence of a role of C. parvum in adenocarcinoma induction and the extended prevalence of cryptosporidiosis worldwide, suggest that the risk of C. parvum-induced gastro-intestinal cancer in humans should be assessed.
Dexamethasone (Dex) treated Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) mice were previously described as developing digestive adenocarcinoma after massive infection with Cryptosporidium parvum as soon as 45 days post-infection (P.I.). We aimed to determine the minimum number of oocysts capable of inducing infection and thereby gastrointestinal tumors in this model. Mice were challenged with calibrated oocyst suspensions containing intended doses of: 1, 10, 100 or 10(5) oocysts of C. parvum Iowa strain. All administered doses were infective for animals but increasing the oocyst challenge lead to an increase in mice infectivity (P?=?0.01). Oocyst shedding was detected at 7 days P.I. after inoculation with more than 10 oocysts, and after 15 days in mice challenged with one oocyst. In groups challenged with lower inocula, parasite growth phase was significantly higher (P?=?0.005) compared to mice inoculated with higher doses. After 45 days P.I. all groups of mice had a mean of oocyst shedding superior to 10,000 oocyst/g of feces. The most impressive observation of this study was the demonstration that C. parvum-induced digestive adenocarcinoma could be caused by infection with low doses of Cryptosporidium, even with only one oocyst: in mice inoculated with low doses, neoplastic lesions were detected as early as 45 days P.I. both in the stomach and ileo-caecal region, and these lesions could evolve in an invasive adenocarcinoma. These findings show a great amplification effect of parasites in mouse tissues after challenge with low doses as confirmed by quantitative PCR. The ability of C. parvum to infect mice with one oocyst and to develop digestive adenocarcinoma suggests that other mammalian species including humans could be also susceptible to this process, especially when they are severely immunocompromised.
In the present work, we report the characterization of a Cryptosporidium parvum strain isolated from a patient who nearly drowned in the Deule River (Lille, France) after being discharged from the hospital where he had undergone allogeneic stem cell transplantation. After being rescued and readmitted to the hospital, he developed fulminant cryptosporidiosis. The strain isolated from the patients stools was identified as C. parvum II2A15G2R1 (subtype linked to zoonotic exposure) and inoculated into SCID mice. In this host, this virulent C. parvum isolate induced not only severe infection but also invasive gastrointestinal and biliary adenocarcinoma. The observation of adenocarcinomas that progressed through all layers of the digestive tract to the subserosa and spread via blood vessels confirmed the invasive nature of the neoplastic process. These results indicate for the first time that a human-derived C. parvum isolate is able to induce digestive cancer. This study is of special interest considering the exposure of a large number of humans and animals to this waterborne protozoan, which is highly tumorigenic when inoculated in a rodent model.
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