Amoebiasis is caused by the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica, a human‐specific pathogen that thrives in areas of poor sanitation. The clinical manifestations of E. histolytica infection range from asymptomatic colonization to invasive disease manifest as amoebic dysentery or amoebic liver abscess.

Keywords: Entamoeba histolytica; amoebic colitis; amoebic liver abscess; dysentery


Ankri S, Stolarsky T and Mirelman D (1998) Antisense inhibition of expression of cysteine proteinases does not affect Entamoeba histolytica cytopathic or haemolytic activity but inhibits phagocytosis. Molecular Microbiology 28: 777–785.

Barwick RS, Malakmadze N, Imnadze P et al. (1999) Outbreak of amebiasis in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. Presented at 48th Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Washington, DC (unpublished).

Bracha R, Nuchamowitz Y, Leippe M and Mirelman D (1999) Antisense inhibition of amoebapore expression in Entamoeba histolytica causes a decrease in amoebic virulence. Molecular Microbiology 34: 463–472.

Bruchhaus I, Jacobs T, Leippe M and Tannich E (1996) Entamoeba histolytica and Entamoeba dispar: differences in numbers and expression of cysteine proteinase genes. Molecular Microbiology 22: 255–263.

Eckmann L, Reed SL, Smith JR and Kagnoff MF (1995) Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites induce an inflammatory cytokine response by cultured human cells through the paracrine action of cytolytically released interleukin‐1α. Journal of Clinical Investigation 96: 1269–1279.

Keene WE, Petitt MG, Allen S and McKerrow JH (1986) The major neutral proteinase of Entamoeba histolytica. Journal of Experimental Medicine 163: 536–549.

Leippe M (1997) Amoebapores. Parasitology Today 13: 178–183.

Li E, Stenson WF, Kunz‐Jenkins C et al. (1994) Entamoeba histolytica interactions with polarized human intestinal Caco‐2 epithelial cells. Infection and Immunity 62: 5112–5119.

McCoy JJ, Mann BJ and Petri WA Jr (1994) Adherence and cytotoxicity of Entamoeba histolytica or how lectins let parasites stick around. Infection and Immunity 62: 3045–3050.

Ravdin JI, Jackson TFGH, Abd‐Alla MD, Reddy S and Welles S (1999) Predictive factors for acquisition of Entamoeba histolytica and E. dispar infection. Presented at 48th Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Washington, DC (unpublished).

Seydel KB and Stanley SL Jr (1998) Entamoeba histolytica induces host cell death in amebic liver abscess by a non‐Fas‐dependent, non‐tumor necrosis factor alpha‐dependent pathway of apoptosis. Infection and Immunity 66: 2980–2983.

Seydel KB, Li E, Swanson PE and Stanley SL Jr (1997) Human intestinal epithelial cells produce pro‐inflammatory cytokines in response to infection in a SCID mouse–human intestinal xenograft model of amebiasis. Infection and Immunity 65: 1631–1639.

Seydel KB, Smith SJ and Stanley SL Jr (2000) Innate immunity to amebic liver abscess is dependent on gamma interferon and nitric oxide in a murine model of disease. Infection and Immunity 68: 400–402.

Further Reading

Brumpt ME (1925) Étude sommaire de l′Entamoeba dispar n. sp. Amibe a kystes quadrinuclées, parasite de l′homme. Bulletin de l'Academie Médecine (Paris) 94: 942–952.

Ravdin JI (ed.) (1988) Amebiasis. Human Infection by Entamoeba histolytica. New York: John Wiley.

Ravdin JI (ed.) (2000) Amebiasis. London: Imperial College Press.

Stanley SL Jr (1997) Progress towards development of a vaccine for amebiasis. Clinical Microbiology Reviews 10: 637–649.

Stanley SL and Li E (1993) Pathophysiology of amebiasis. Seminars in Gastrointestinal Disease 4: 214–223.

Stanley SL Jr, Zhang T, Rubin D and Li E (1995) Role of the Entamoeba histolytica cysteine proteinase in amebic liver abscess formation in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice. Infection and Immunity 63: 1587–1590.

Contact Editor close
Submit a note to the editor about this article by filling in the form below.

* Required Field

How to Cite close
Stanley, Samuel L, and Li, Ellen(Apr 2001) Amoebiasis. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001944]