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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 626259, 10 pages
Research Article

Erythrophagocytosis in Entamoeba histolytica and Entamoeba dispar: A Comparative Study

1Department of Infectomics and Molecular Pathogenesis, Center for Research and Advanced Studies, IPN, Avenida Instituto Politécnico Nacional No. 2508, Colonia San Pedro Zacatenco, Delegación Gustavo A. Madero, 07360 Mexico City, DF, Mexico
2Faculty of Superior Studies Iztacala, Biology, UNAM, Los Reyes Iztacala, 54090 Tlalnepantla, MEX, Mexico

Received 28 February 2014; Revised 9 May 2014; Accepted 9 May 2014; Published 5 June 2014

Academic Editor: Abraham Landa-Piedra

Copyright © 2014 Daniel Talamás-Lara 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.


Entamoeba histolytica is the causative agent of human intestinal and liver amebiasis. The extraordinary phagocytic activity of E. histolytica trophozoites has been accepted as one of the virulence mechanisms responsible for their invasive capacity. The recognition of the noninvasive Entamoeba dispar as a different species has raised the question as to whether the lack of pathogenic potential of this ameba correlates with a limited phagocytic capacity. We have therefore compared the process of erythrophagocytosis in both species by means of light and video microscopy, hemoglobin measurement, and the estimation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In the present study, we confirmed that E. dispar has lower erythrophagocytic capacity. We also observed by video microscopy a new event of erythrocyte opsonization-like in both species, being more characteristic in E. histolytica. Moreover, E. dispar showed a lower capacity to produce ROS compared with the invasive species and also showed a large population of amoebae that did not engulf any erythrocyte over time. Our results demonstrate that E. histolytica has a higher phagocytic capacity than E. dispar, including a higher rate of production of ROS in the course of ingesting red blood cells.