After cultured cysts are osmotically shocked by treating with distilled water, there is an exponential increase in the cyst form of Blastocystis pythoni; this was demonstrated by an immunofluorescence antibody assay against the culture organisms. In 11-day-old cultures of B. pythoni, 68.8% of the organisms (= 2.2 × 108 cysts/ml) were in the cyst form. Examination of thin sections of cysts revealed many similarities to the cyst forms of Blastocystis obtained from fecal samples in previous investigations. Freeze-fracture images of the plasma membrane of non-cyst cells also revealed a similar distribution of the intramembrane particles (IMP) when compared to non-cysts of B. hominis, while the plasma membrane of the cyst form showed practically no IMP. The size and morphology of particle-rich small depressions and smooth small protrusions observed on the P face and E face of non-cyst cells, respectively, were similar to endocytic sites reported for B. hominis. In the present study glycogen was cytochemically demonstrated at the ultrastructural level by an alkaline bismuth staining method in both cyst and non-cyst cells.
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Vol. 50 • No. 1