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Intestinal amoebiasis: 160 years of its first detection and still remains as a health problem in developing countries.

Amoebiasis is a parasitic disease caused by Entamoeba histolytica (E. histolytica), an extracellular enteric protozoan. This infection mainly affects people from developing countries with limited hygiene conditions, where it is endemic. Infective cysts are transmitted by the fecal-oral route, excysting in the terminal ileum and producing invasive trophozoites (amoebae). E. histolytica mainly lives in the large intestine without causing symptoms; however, possibly as a result of so far unknown signals, the amoebae invade the mucosa and epithelium causing intestinal amoebiasis. E. histolytica possesses different mechanisms of pathogenicity for the adherence to the intestinal epithelium and for degrading extracellular matrix proteins, producing tissue lesions that progress to abscesses and a host acute inflammatory response. Much information has been obtained regarding the virulence factors, metabolism, mechanisms of pathogenicity, and the host immune response against this parasite; in addition, alternative treatments to metronidazole are continually emerging. An accesible and low-cost diagnostic method that can distinguish E. histolytica from the most nonpathogenic amoebae and an effective vaccine are necessary for protecting against amoebiasis. However, research about the disease and its prevention has been a challenge due to the relationship between E. histolytica and the host during the distinct stages of the disease is multifaceted. In this review, we analyze the interaction between the parasite, the human host, and the colon microbiota or pathogenic microorganisms, which together give rise to intestinal amoebiasis.

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