• Open Access

Host Responses to Cryptosporidium Infection

Authors

  • Jody L. Gookin,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departments of Anatomy, Physiological Sciences, and Radiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, JVC.
      Department of Anatomy, Physiological Sciences, and Radiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606; e-mail: JodyJGookin@ncsu.edu.
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  • Shila K. Nordone,

    1. Departments of Microbiology, Parasitology, and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, JVC.
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  • Robert A. Argenzio

    1. Departments of Anatomy, Physiological Sciences, and Radiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, JVC.
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Department of Anatomy, Physiological Sciences, and Radiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606; e-mail: JodyJGookin@ncsu.edu.

Abstract

Cryptosporidium is a clinically and economically important infection whose pathogenic effect begins with colonization of the intestinal epithelium. Despite intensive efforts, a consistently effective therapy for the infection has yet to be identified. Morbidity and mortality results from ongoing loss of absorptive epithelium, which leads to villous atrophy and malabsorption and release of inflammatory mediators that stimulate electrolyte secretion and diarrhea. With further clarification of the mechanisms underlying enterocyte malfunction in Cryptosporidium infection, it should be possible to design rational nutritional and pharmacologic therapies to enhance nutrient and water absorption, promote the clearance of infected enterocytes, and restore normal villus architecture and mucosal barrier function.

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