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Growth and propagation of fish-infecting microsporidians within cell culture has been more difficult to achieve than for insect- and human-infecting microsporidians. Fish microsporidia tend to elicit xenoma development rather than diffuse growth in vivo, and this process likely increases host specificity. We present evidence that the fish microsporidian, Loma salmonae, has the capacity to develop xenomas within a rainbow trout gill epithelial cell line (RTG-1). Spore numbers increased over a 4 weeks period within cell culture flasks. Xenoma-like structures were observed using phase contrast microscopy, and then confirmed using transmission electron microscopy. Optimization of the L. salmonae-RTG-1 cell model has important implications in elucidating the process of xenoma development induced by microsporidian parasites.
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