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Besnoitia oryctofelisi n. sp (Protozoa : Apicomplexa) from domestic rabbits
Dubey, J. P.
Lindsay, D. S.
Rosenthal, B. M.
Venturini, M. C.
Greiner, E. C.
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A species of Besnoitia from naturally infected rabbits from Argentina was propagated experimentally in mice, gerbils, rabbits, cats, and cell cultures. Cats fed tissue cysts from rabbits shed oocysts with a prepatent period of nine to 13 days. Sporulated oocysts were infective to gerbils, rabbits, outbred Swiss Webster and interferon gamma gene knockout mice. Bradyzoites were infective orally to gerbils and cats. Tachyzoites were successfully cultivated and maintained in vitro in bovine monocytes and African green monkey kidney cells. Schizonts were seen in the lamina propria of the small intestine of cats fed tissue cysts; the largest ones measured 52 x 45 mum. Schizonts were also present in mesenteric lymph nodes, livers, and other extra-intestinal organs of cats fed tissue cysts. Oocysts were 10-14 x 10-13 mum in size. This rabbit-derived species of Besnoitia resembled B. darlingi of the North American opossum, Didelphis virginiana with an opossum-cat cycle, but it was not transmissible to D. virginiana, and B. darlingi of opossums was not transmissible to rabbits. Based on biological, serological, antigenic, and molecular differences between the rabbit and the opossum Besnoitia, a new name, B. oryctofelisi is proposed for the parasite from domestic rabbits from Argentina.