Entamoeba histolytica is the etiologic agent for amoebiasis. The excretory-secretory (ES) products of the trophozoites contain virulence factors and antigens useful for diagnostic applications. Contaminants from serum supplements and dead trophozoites impede analysis of ES. Therefore, a protein-free medium that can sustain maximum viability of E. histolytica trophozoites for the longest time duration will enable collection of contaminant-free and higher yield of ES products. In the present study, we compared the efficacy of four types of media in maintaining ≥ 95% trophozoite viability namely Roswell Memorial Park Institute (RPMI-1640), Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Medium (DMEM), phosphate-buffered saline for amoeba (PBS-A), and Hank's balanced salt solution (HBSS). Concurrently, the effect of adding L: -cysteine and ascorbic acid (C&A) to each medium on the parasite viability was also compared. DMEM and RPMI 1640 showed higher viabilities as compared to PBS-A and HBSS. Only RPMI 1640 showed no statistical difference with the control medium for the first 4 h, however the ≥ 95% viability was only maintained for the first 2 h. The other protein-free media showed differences from the serum- and vitamin-free TYI-S-33 control media even after 1 h of incubation. When supplemented with C&A, all media were found to sustain higher trophozoite viabilities than those without the supplements. HBSS-C&A, DMEM-C&A, and RPMI 1640-C&A demonstrated no difference (P>0.05) in parasite viabilities when compared with the control medium throughout the 8-h incubation period. DMEM-C&A showed an eightfold increment in time duration of sustaining ≥ 95% parasite viability, i.e. 8 h, as compared to DMEM alone. Both RPMI 1640-C&A and HBSS-C&A revealed fourfold and threefold increments (i.e., 8 and 6 h, respectively), whereas PBS-A-C&A showed only one fold improvement (i.e., 2 h) as compared to the respective media without C&A. Thus, C&A-supplemented DMEM or RPMI are recommended for collection of ES products.
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