Babesia microti: Biochemistry and function of hamster erythrocytes infected from a human source

Eugene F. Roth, Herbert Tanowitz, Murray Wittner, Yoshihiro Ueda, Hsin S. Hsieh, Gertrude Neumann, Ronald L. Nagel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Babesia microti, a protozoan parasite of mammalian erythrocytes was obtained from the blood of an infected human and maintained in golden hamsters, in which a parasitemia of 70% was obtained regularly. The hamsters' response-a subacute, hemolytic anemia-was studied with regard to oxygen affinity and red cell organic phosphate content. In addition, the reduced glutathione status of infected erythrocytes was observed because of the possible importance of this metabolite to parasite growth and red cell integrity. Infected animals developed a severe anemia with reticulocytosis; there occurred a 4-mm decrease in whole blood oxygen affinity without any change in erythrocytes' 2,3-diphosphoglycerate levels. The glutathione content of the infected animals' erythrocytes increased twofold during the course of the infection. In uninfected animals, in which anemia and reticulocytosis had been produced by bleeding, all changes seen in infected animals were reproduced. It was concluded that the changes in the infected animals were due to the anemia and reticulocytosis alone, and that the parasite played no role in these changes apart from being a cause of anemia and reticulocytosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-123
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1981


  • 2,3-Diphosphoglycerate
  • Babesia microti
  • Erythrocyte
  • Glutathione
  • Hamster, golden
  • Hemoglobin
  • Oxygen affinity
  • Protozoa, parasitic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Babesia microti: Biochemistry and function of hamster erythrocytes infected from a human source'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this