Korean J Parasitol.  2011 Jun;49(2):177-180. 10.3347/kjp.2011.49.2.177.

Calpains are Involved in Entamoeba histolytica-Induced Death of HT-29 Colonic Epithelial Cells

  • 1Department of Environmental Medical Biology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea.
  • 2Institute of Tropical Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea.
  • 3Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea.
  • 4Department of Biotechnology, College of Life Science and Biotechnology, Yonsei University, Seoul 120-752, Korea.


Entamoeba histolytica is an enteric tissue-invading protozoan parasite that can cause amebic colitis and liver abscess in humans. E. histolytica has the capability to kill colon epithelial cells in vitro; however, information regarding the role of calpain in colon cell death induced by ameba is limited. In this study, we investigated whether calpains are involved in the E. histolytica-induced cell death of HT-29 colonic epithelial cells. When HT-29 cells were co-incubated with E. histolytica, the propidium iodide stained dead cells markedly increased compared to that in HT-29 cells incubated with medium alone. This pro-death effect induced by ameba was effectively blocked by pretreatment of HT-29 cells with the calpain inhibitor, calpeptin. Moreover, knockdown of m- and micro-calpain by siRNA significantly reduced E. histolytica-induced HT-29 cell death. These results suggest that m- and micro-calpain may be involved in colon epithelial cell death induced by E. histolytica.


Entamoeba histolytica; host cell death; calpain; HT-29 colon epithelial cells

MeSH Terms

Calpain/antagonists & inhibitors/genetics/*metabolism
*Cell Death
Cell Line
Cell Survival/drug effects
Entamoeba histolytica/*pathogenicity
Epithelial Cells/*parasitology
Gene Knockdown Techniques
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