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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2013, Article ID 591520, 9 pages
Research Article

Development of Eimeria nieschulzi (Coccidia, Apicomplexa) Gamonts and Oocysts in Primary Fetal Rat Cells

Institute of Zoology, Technische Universität Dresden, Helmholtzstraße 10, 01062 Dresden, Germany

Received 18 April 2013; Accepted 3 June 2013

Academic Editor: Renato A. Mortara

Copyright © 2013 Hong Chen 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 in vitro production of gametocytes and oocysts of the apicomplexan parasite genus Eimeria is still a challenge in coccidiosis research. Until today, an in vitro development of gametocytes or oocysts had only been shown in some Eimeria species. For several mammalian Eimeria species, partial developments could be achieved in different cell types, but a development up to gametocytes or oocysts is still lacking. This study compares several permanent cell lines with primary fetal cells of the black rat (Rattus norvegicus) concerning the qualitative in vitro development of the rat parasite Eimeria nieschulzi. With the help of transgenic parasites, the developmental progress was documented. The selected Eimeria nieschulzi strain constitutively expresses the yellow fluorescent protein and a macrogamont specific upregulated red tandem dimer tomato. In the majority of all investigated host cells the development stopped at the second merozoite stage. In a mixed culture of cells derived from inner fetal organs the development of schizont generations I-IV, macrogamonts, and oocysts were observed in crypt-like organoid structures. Microgamonts and microgametes could not be observed and oocysts did not sporulate under air supply. By immunohistology, we could confirm that wild-type E. nieschulzi stages can be found in the crypts of the small intestine. The results of this study may be helpful for characterization of native host cells and for development of an in vitro cultivation system for Eimeria species.