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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 461329, 13 pages
Research Article

Reevaluating the Role of Acanthamoeba Proteases in Tissue Invasion: Observation of Cytopathogenic Mechanisms on MDCK Cell Monolayers and Hamster Corneal Cells

1UIICSE Faculty of Superior Studies Iztacala, Medicine, UNAM, Los Reyes Iztacala, 54090 Tlalnepantla, MEX, Mexico
2Department of Infectomics and Molecular Pathogenesis, Center for Research and Advanced Studies, 07360 Mexico City, DF, Mexico
3University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, University of la Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, 38200 La Laguna, Spain

Received 22 October 2012; Revised 4 December 2012; Accepted 7 December 2012

Academic Editor: Luis I. Terrazas

Copyright © 2013 Maritza Omaña-Molina et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The morphological analysis of the cytopathic effect on MDCK cell monolayers and hamster cornea and qualitative and quantitative analyses of conditioned medium and proteases were evaluated and compared between two strains of Acanthamoeba genotype T4. Further than highlighting the biological differences found between both strains, the most important observation in this study was the fact that proteases both in total extracts and in conditioned medium are apparently not determinant in tissue destruction. An interestingly finding was that no lysis of corneal tissue was observed as it was previously suggested. These results, together with previous studies, allow us to conclude that the invasion and disruption of corneal tissue is performed by the penetration of the amoebae through cell junctions, either by the action of proteases promoting cellular separation but not by their destruction and/or a mechanical effect exerted by amoebae. Therefore, contact-dependent mechanisms in Acanthamoeba pathogenesis are more relevant than it has been previously considered. This is supported because the phagocytosis of recently detached cells as well as those attached to the corneal epithelium leads to the modification of the cellular architecture facilitating the migration and destruction of deeper layers of the corneal epithelium.