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Unraveling the pathogenic potential of the Pentatrichomonas hominis PHGD strain: impact on IPEC-J2 cell growth, adhesion, and gene expression.

Pentatrichomonas hominis, a flagellated parasitic protozoan, predominantly infects the mammalian digestive tract, often causing symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. However, studies investigating its pathogenicity are limited, and the mechanisms underlying P. hominis-induced diarrhea remain unclear. Establishing an in vitro cell model for P. hominis infection is imperative. This study investigated the interaction between P. hominis and IPEC-J2 cells and its impact on parasite growth, adhesion, morphology, and cell viability. Co-cultivation of P. hominis with IPEC-J2 cells resulted in exponential growth of the parasite, with peak densities reaching approximately 4.8 × 105 cells/mL and 1.2 × 106 cells/mL at 48 h for initial inoculation concentrations of 104 cells/mL and 105 cells/mL, respectively. The adhesion rate of P. hominis to IPEC-J2 cells reached a maximum of 93.82% and 86.57% at 24 h for initial inoculation concentrations of 104 cells/mL and 105 cells/mL, respectively. Morphological changes in IPEC-J2 cells co-cultivated with P. hominis were observed, manifesting as elongated and irregular shapes. The viability of IPEC-J2 cells exhibited a decreasing trend with increasing P. hominis concentration and co-cultivation time. Additionally, the mRNA expression levels of IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α were upregulated, whereas those of CAT and CuZn-SOD were downregulated. These findings provide quantitative evidence that P. hominis can promote its growth by adhering to IPEC-J2 cells, inducing morphological changes, reducing cell viability, and triggering inflammatory responses. Further in vivo studies are warranted to confirm these results and enhance our understanding of P. hominis infection.

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