Transformation of promastigotes of Leishmania donovani strain AG83 from amastigotes derived from an infected animal was studied in three media, Schneider's Drosophila medium (SDM), Medium 199 (M199), and biphasic M199 (B-M199) with 10% fetal bovine serum. The media, SDM and B-M199, both supported a more efficient transformation of promastigotes in comparison with M199. Infectivity studies in hamsters and BALB/c mice showed that promastigotes isolated in B-M199 were several folds more infective than those obtained from M199. Comparison of the infectivity and virulence of promastigotes of AG83, with a recent isolate of kala-azar, SL94, harvested under similar conditions, revealed greater infectivity of SL94 for both macrophages and animal models. The present study demonstrates that the medium used for the conversion of amastigotes to promastigotes plays a major role in determining the infectivity of the freshly transformed L. donovani promastigotes in hamsters and BALB/c mice. The source and the strain of the parasite also influence the outcome of L. donovani infection.
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Vol. 49 • No. 4