Cryptosporidium infection leads to life-threatening diarrhea in AIDS patients. Pathogenesis of cryptosporidiosis is due to intestinal physiological alterations. We devised an ex-vivo model using ex-vivo Cryptosporidium parvum infection of jejunal tissues derived from SIV-infected macaques and studied the role of substance P (SP) in the pathogenesis of cryptosporidiosis.Methods
We measured jejunal SP protein levels using ELISA, and electrophysiological alterations using the Ussing chamber technique in an ex vivo model of Cryptosporidium infection. Paraformaldehyde-fixed jejunum from SIV-infected macaques with and without naturally occurring cryptosporidiosis was studied for SP protein expression by immunohistochemistry and fluorescence deconvolution microscopy.Results
Ex-vivo Cryptosporidium-infected tissues and tissues from SIV-infected macaques with naturally occurring cryptosporidiosis demonstrated elevated SP protein levels compared with tissues from SIV-infected animals without ex-vivo C. parvum infection or tissues from SIV-infected animals that have no evidence of cryptosporidiosis. In our ex-vivo model of Cryptosporidium infection, we demonstrated pathophysiological alterations that were blocked by SP-receptor antagonist treatment.Conclusions
These studies suggest that SP-receptor antagonists could prove useful for treatment of AIDS-related cryptosporidiosis.