Novel Bioengineered Three-Dimensional Human Intestinal Model for Long-Term Infection of Cryptosporidium parvum

DeCicco RePass MA1,2, Chen Y3, Lin Y3, Zhou W3, Kaplan DL1,3, Ward HD4,2
Source: Infect Immun
Publication Date: ()
Issue: 85: e00731-16
Cells used in publication:
Myofibroblast, human intestinal (InMyoFib)
Species: human
Tissue Origin: intestine


Cryptosporidium spp. are apicomplexan parasites of global importance that cause human diarrheal disease. In vitro culture models that may be used to study this parasite and that have physiological relevance to in vivo infection remain suboptimal. Thus, the pathogenesis of cryptosporidiosis remains poorly characterized, and interventions for the disease are limited. In this study, we evaluated the potential of a novel bioengineered three-dimensional (3D) human intestinal tissue model (which we developed previously) to support long-term infection by Cryptosporidium parvum Infection was assessed by immunofluorescence assays and confocal and scanning electron microscopy and quantified by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. We found that C. parvum infected and developed in this tissue model for at least 17 days, the extent of the study time used in the present study. Contents from infected scaffolds could be transferred to fresh scaffolds to establish new infections for at least three rounds. Asexual and sexual stages and the formation of new oocysts were observed during the course of infection. Additionally, we observed ablation, blunting, or distortion of microvilli in infected epithelial cells. Ultimately, a 3D model system capable of supporting continuous Cryptosporidium infection will be a useful tool for the study of host-parasite interactions, identification of putative drug targets, screening of potential interventions, and propagation of genetically modified parasites