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An efficient method for viable cryopreservation and recovery of hookworms and other gastrointestinal nematodes in the laboratory.

Hookworms (genera Ancylostoma and Necator) are amongst the most prevalent and important parasites of humans globally. These intestinal parasites ingest blood, resulting in anemia, growth stunting, malnutrition, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. They are also critical parasites of dogs and other animals. In addition, hookworms and hookworm products are being explored for their use in treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. There is thus a significant and growing interest in these mammalian host-obligate parasites. Laboratory research is hampered by the lack of good means of cryopreservation and recovery of parasites. Here, we describe a robust method for long-term (≥3 year) cryopreservation and recovery of both Ancylostoma and Necator hookworms that is also applicable to two other intestinal parasites that passage through the infective L3 stage, Strongyloides ratti and Heligmosomoides polygyrus bakeri. The key is a revised recovery method, in which cryopreserved L1s are thawed and raised to the infective L3 stage using activated charcoal mixed with uninfected feces from a permissive host. This technique will greatly facilitate research on and availability of gastrointestinal parasitic nematodes with great importance to global health, companion animal health, and autoimmune/inflammatory disease therapies.

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