ABSTRACT Cystoisospora belli is an opportunistic protozoan that causes human cystoisosporiasis, an infection characterized by diarrhea, steatorrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and weight loss. The lack of animal models susceptible to C. belli , and the difficulty in obtaining clinical samples with fair amounts of oocysts have limited the research pertaining to the basic biology of this parasite. This study aimed to describe the ultrastructure of endogenous stages of C. belli in Monkey Rhesus Kidney Cells (MK2) and Human Ileocecal Adenocarcinoma cells (HCT-8). Zoites of C. belli exhibited typical morphological features of coccidia, which included a trilaminar pellicle, an apical complex formed by a conoid, polar rings, rhoptries, and micronemes, in addition to dense granules and the endoplasmic reticulum. No crystalloid body was observed but various lipid and amylopectin granules were usually present in the cytoplasm of zoites. We observed a tendency of the endoplasmic reticulum of the host cell to be located near the parasitophorous vacuole membrane. Merozoites were formed by endodyogeny and during replication, the apical complex of the mother cell remained intact. The formation of gametes or oocysts was not observed. The ultrastructural findings of C. belli are further evidence of its proximity to Sarcocystidae family members and corroborate their reclassification as Cystoisospora spp. Microsc. Res. Tech., 2014 . © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Natural Sciences in General