Intestinal morphology and fluid and electrolyte transport were examined in a neonatal porcine model of cryptosporidiosis. Sections of jejunum, ileum, and colon were obtained for morphometric analysis on days 3, 6, 9, and 12 postinfection, and in vivo perfusion studies of jejunum and ileum were conducted on days 3 and 4 postinfection. The most severe morphologic lesion was seen in the ileum on day 3, and consisted of villous atrophy, crypt hyperplasia, and cellular infiltration. Villous surface area was reduced from 2.1 ± 0.4 × 105 μm2 in control ileum to 0.8 ± 0.1 × 10s μm2 in infected ileum, a result associated with enterocytes that were fewer in number and reduced in cross-sectional area. Conversely, the number of inflammatory cells in the lamina propria of the villus increased from 456 ± 116 in control to 1014 ± 187 in infected villus without a significant change in the volume of the lamina propria. At the height of infection, there was an approximate 1:2 ratio of both organisms and inflammatory cells to villous enterocytes. In contrast, organisms were not observed in the crypts, and the concentration of inflammatory cells in crypt lamina propria was unaltered. Disappearance of organisms and polymorphonuclear cells from the ileum was associated with restoration of normal structure and was complete by day 12. Although organisms were seen in the colon, the general architecture was not severely affected. On days 3 and 4 postinfection, there was a complete impairment of the glucose-stimulated Na and water absorption in both jejunum and ileum of infected pigs; however, absorption of electrolytes and water from a basic Ringer's solution, in the absence of glucose, was not significantly affected. These results are consistent with a malabsorptive diarrheal disease associated with the morphological damage and are very similar to those seen in enteric viral disease in pigs, except that the upper intestine is more severely affected in the latter.
ASJC Scopus subject areas