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Killing of Cryptosporidium sporozoites by Lactoferrin

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  • 1 Infectious Diseases Division, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas;
  • | 2 Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
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Intestinal infection caused by Cryptosporidium is a major contributor to diarrhea morbidity and mortality in young children around the world. Current treatments for children suffering from cryptosporidiosis are suboptimal. Lactoferrin is a glycoprotein found in breast milk. It has showed bacteriostatic and antimicrobial activity in the intestine. However, the effects of lactoferrin on the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium have not been reported. In this study, we investigated the anticryptosporidial activity of human lactoferrin on different stages of Cryptosporidium. Physiologic concentrations of lactoferrin killed Cryptosporidium parvum sporozoites, but had no significant effect on oocysts viability or parasite intracellular development. Since sporozoites are essential for the infection process, our data reinforce the importance of breastfeeding and point to the potential of lactoferrin as a novel therapeutic agent for cryptosporidiosis.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Alejandro Castellanos-González, Infectious Disease Division, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Route 0435, Galveston, TX 77555-0435. E-mail: alcastel@utmb.edu

Authors’ addresses: Jose Luis Paredes, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia Facultad de Medicina, Medicine, Lima, Peru, E-mail: jose.luis.paredes.s@upch.pe. Hayley Sparks, A. Clinton White Jr., Griselle Martinez-Traverso, and Alejandro Castellanos-González, Department of Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases Division, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, E-mails: h.sparks448@gmail.com, acwhite@utmb.edu, gbmartin@utmb.edu and alcastel@utmb.edu. Theresa Ochoa, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Instituto de Medicina Tropical, Lima, Peru, and Center for Infectious Diseases, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX, E-mail: theresa.j.ochoa@uth.tmc.edu.

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