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The impact of distinct culture media in Leishmania infantum biology and infectivity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2013

NUNO SANTARÉM
Affiliation:
Parasite Disease Group, Unit of Infection and Immunity, IBMC – Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto, Portugal Centre de Recherche en Infectiologie du Centre de Recherche du CHUL, Québec, Canada
JOANA CUNHA
Affiliation:
Parasite Disease Group, Unit of Infection and Immunity, IBMC – Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto, Portugal Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar e Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade do Porto, Portugal
RICARDO SILVESTRE
Affiliation:
Parasite Disease Group, Unit of Infection and Immunity, IBMC – Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto, Portugal
CÁTIA SILVA
Affiliation:
Parasite Disease Group, Unit of Infection and Immunity, IBMC – Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto, Portugal
DIANA MOREIRA
Affiliation:
Parasite Disease Group, Unit of Infection and Immunity, IBMC – Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto, Portugal
MARC OUELLETTE
Affiliation:
Centre de Recherche en Infectiologie du Centre de Recherche du CHUL, Québec, Canada
ANABELA CORDEIRO-DA-SILVA*
Affiliation:
Parasite Disease Group, Unit of Infection and Immunity, IBMC – Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto, Portugal Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade do Porto, Portugal
*
*Corresponding author: Parasite Disease Group, Unit of Infection and Immunity, IBMC – Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, Universidade do Porto, Rua do Campo Alegre, 823, 4150-180 Porto, Portugal. E-mail: cordeiro@ibmc.up.pt

Summary

An ideal culture medium for Leishmania promastigotes should retain the basic characteristics of promastigotes found in sandflies (morphology and infectivity). Furthermore, the media should not create a bias in experimental settings, thus enabling the proper extrapolation of results. To assess this we studied several established media for promastigote growth. We analysed morphology, viability, cell cycle progression, metacyclic profile, capacity to differentiate into axenic amastigotes and infectivity. Furthermore, using a rational approach from the evaluated media we developed a simple serum-free medium (cRPMI). We report that parasites growing in different media present different biological characteristics and distinct in vitro and in vivo infectivities. The developed medium, cRPMI, proved to be a less expensive substitute for traditional serum-supplemented media for the in vitro maintenance of promastigotes. In fact, cRPMI is ideal for the maintenance of parasites in the laboratory, diminishing the expected loss of virulence over time typical of the parasite cultivation. Ultimately this report is a clear warning that the normalization of culture media should be a real concern in the field as media-specific phenomena are sufficient to induce biological bias with consequences in infectivity and general parasite biology.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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