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Experimental oral and ocular Encephalitozoon cuniculi infection in rabbits

  • E. JEKLOVA (a1), L. LEVA (a1), K. KOVARCIK (a2), J. MATIASOVIC (a1), V. KUMMER (a1), J. MASKOVA (a1), M. SKORIC (a3) and M. FALDYNA (a1)...


Encephalitozoon cuniculi is an obligate intracellular pathogen that has a wide host distribution, but primarily affects rabbits. The aim of this study was to characterize both the cell-mediated and the antibody response in rabbits after experimental infection using 2 different infection routes: oral and ocular. SPF rabbits were infected with low (103 spores) and high (107 spores) infection doses. Monitored parameters included clinical signs, detection of spores in urine, antibody response detected with ELISA, and cell-mediated immunity detected by antigen-driven lymphocyte proliferation. At week 13 post-infection, half of the rabbits in each group were suppressed by intramuscular administration of dexamethasone. At week 18 post-infection, animals were euthanized. Clinical signs were mild with exacerbation after immunosuppression. Spores in urine and antigen-specific cell-mediated immunity were detected from weeks 5 and 4 post-infection, respectively. Specific IgM was detected 1 week after infection, and IgG antibodies followed 1 week later in rabbits infected with the high dose. Immunological responses were dose dependent. The authors can conclude that both oral and ocular experimental infection with E. cuniculi resulted in an immune response of the infected animals. Rabbits could be used as an experimental model for the study of ocular microsporidiosis.


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*Corresponding author: Department of Immunology, Veterinary Research Institute, Hudcova 70, 621 00 Brno, Czech Republic. Tel: +420 53333 1301. Fax: +420 54121 1229. E-mail:


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Experimental oral and ocular Encephalitozoon cuniculi infection in rabbits

  • E. JEKLOVA (a1), L. LEVA (a1), K. KOVARCIK (a2), J. MATIASOVIC (a1), V. KUMMER (a1), J. MASKOVA (a1), M. SKORIC (a3) and M. FALDYNA (a1)...


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