The Occurrence of Two Significantly Distinct Races of Endamoeba Histolytica

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  • Gorgas Memorial Laboratory, Panama, R. of P., Department of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, U. S. Naval Medical School, Washington, D. C.

Summary and Conclusions

  1. 1.A study of the mean diameters and size distributions of cysts of E. histolytica from 99 cases demonstrates the existence of large numbers of strains having mean diameters intermediate between and beyond the 5 races postulated by Dobell and Jepps. These strains overlap greatly in size distribution, do not show size constancy, and differ in no other respect than that of size alone. They, therefore, cannot properly be designated as races of E. histolytica.
  2. 2.Further analysis, on the other hand, both of individual strains and the pooled size distribution of 7495 cyst measurements from 320 cases, demonstrates the existence of two significantly distinct races, a large and a small. These are not only distinctly unlike in size, but differ as regards motility, culturability, and pathogenicity in man and lower animals.
  3. 3.In practice, the 10 micron line may be generally used to distinguish living cysts of the large or small race. For measurements of wet-fixed stained cysts, mounted in Canada balsam, the 9 micron line serves.
  4. 4.The evidence indicates racial constancy both as regards size and physiological characteristics exhibited by the large and small race of E. histolytica.

Author Notes

Statistical analysis by the junior author.