Microsporidia: emerging ocular pathogens

Joseph, J.; Vemuganti, G. K.; Sharma, S.
April 2005
Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology;Apr2005, Vol. 23 Issue 2, p80
Academic Journal
journal article
Microsporidia are eukaryotic, spore forming obligate intracellular parasites, first recognized over 100 years ago. Microsporidia are becoming increasingly recognized as infectious pathogens causing intestinal, ocular, sinus, pulmonary, muscular and renal diseases, in both immunocompetent and immunosuppressed patients. Ocular microsporidiosis, though uncommon, could be isolated or part of systemic infections. It occurs mainly in two forms: keratoconjunctivitis form, mostly seen in immunocompromised individuals; stromal keratitis form seen in immunocompetent individuals. Recent reports indicate increasing number of cases of ocular microsporidiosis in immunocompetent individuals. The ocular cases present as superficial keratitis in AIDS patients, and these differ in presentation and clinical course from the cases seen in immunocompetent individuals which mainly appear to be as deep stromal keratitis. For most patients with infectious diseases, microbiological isolation and identification techniques offer the most rapid and specific determination of the etiologic agent, however this does not hold true for microsporidia, which are obligate intracellular parasites requiring cell culture systems for growth. Therefore, the diagnosis of microsporidiosis currently depends on morphological demonstration of the organisms themselves, either in scrapings or tissues. Although the diagnosis of microsporidiosis and identification of microsporidia by light microscopy have greatly improved during the last few years, species differentiation by these techniques is usually impossible and electron microscopy may be necessary. Immuno fluorescent-staining techniques have been developed for species differentiation of microsporidia, but the antibodies used in these procedures are available only at research laboratories at present. During the last 10 years, molecular techniques have been developed for the detection and species differentiation of microsporidia.


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