Geographic diversity among genotypes of Entamoeba histolytica field isolates

Ali Haghighi, Seiki Kobayashi, Tsutomu Takeuchi, Nitaya Thammapalerd, Tomoyoshi Nozaki

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84 Citations (Scopus)


It has been known that only 5 to 10% of those infected with Entamoeba histolytica develop symptomatic disease. However, the parasite and the host factors that determine the onset of disease remain undetermined. Molecular typing by using polymorphic genetic loci has been proven to aid in the close examination of the population structure of E. histolytica field isolates in nature. In the present study, we analyzed the genetic polymorphisms of two noncoding loci (locus 1-2 and locus 5-6) and two protein-coding loci (chitinase and serine-rich E. histolytica protein [SREHP]) among 79 isolates obtained from different geographic regions, mainly Japan, Thailand, and Bangladesh. When the genotypes of the four loci were combined for all isolates that we have analyzed so far (overlapping isolates from mass infection events were excluded), a total of 53 different genotypes were observed among 63 isolates. The most remarkable and extensive variations among the four loci was found in the SREHP locus; i.e., 34 different genotypes were observed among 52 isolates. These results demonstrate that E. histolytica has an extremely complex genetic structure independent of geographic location. Our results also show that, despite the proposed transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus infection, from Thailand to Japan, the spectra of the genotypes of the E. histolytica isolates from these two countries are distinct, suggesting that the major E. histolytica strains prevalent in Japan at present were likely introduced from countries other than Thailand. Although the genetic polymorphism of the SREHP locus was previously suggested to be closely associated with the clinical presentation, e.g., colitis or dysentery and liver abscess, no association between the clinical presentation and the SREHP genotype at either the nucleotide or the predicted amino acid level was demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3748-3756
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Aug 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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