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Acta Parasitologica

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Volume 61, Issue 3


Isolation and molecular characterization of Acanthamoeba strains isolated from the oral cavity of immunosuppressed individuals in Tehran, Iran

Fatemeh Memari
  • Department of Parasitology and Mycology, School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Department of Medical Biotechnology, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Maryam Niyyati
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Parasitology and Mycology, School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Jacob Lorenzo-Morales
  • University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Zaynab Jonaydi
Published Online: 2016-07-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ap-2016-0060


Acanthamoeba spp. is an opportunistic protozoan parasite which is the causative agent of granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE) and Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK). GAE usually occurs in immunocompromised patients which in most cases is fatal. The present study was conducted to determine the genotypes of Acanthamoeba isolated from patients with compromised immunological status. For this purpose, 90 samples from the oral cavity of these individuals were collected in different hospitals of Tehran, Iran using sterile cotton swabs. Samples were cultured in 2% Non-Nutrient Agar (NNA) plates in order to check for the presence of amoebae. Identification of isolates was carried out using both morphological and molecular tools. The pathogenic potential of the obtained strains was assessed by performing osmo- and thermotolerance assays as previously described. Genotyping of the isolates was carried out by PCR/sequencing of the DF3 region of the 18S rDNA gene of Acanthamoeba. From the 90 collected samples, 11 (13.4%) were positive for Acanthamoeba genus. Molecular analysis revealed the presence of genotypes T3, T4 and T11, although most of the isolates belonged to genotype T4. Only 3 of the isolates genotyped as T4 were positive for the pathogenic potential assays. To this end if the immunological status is considered as one of the key factors for the development of GAE due to Acanthamoeba in the previous reported cases, individuals suffering from the conditions mentioned in this study should be considered as a high risk group of population in Iran and worldwide.

Keywords: Immunocompromised patients; Acanthamoeba; genotypes; oral cavity


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About the article

Received: 2015-10-30

Revised: 2015-01-16

Accepted: 2015-02-05

Published Online: 2016-07-21

Published in Print: 2016-09-01

Citation Information: Acta Parasitologica, Volume 61, Issue 3, Pages 451–455, ISSN (Online) 1896-1851, ISSN (Print) 1230-2821, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ap-2016-0060.

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