Growth of infective forms of Trypanosoma rhodesiense in vitro, the causative agent of African trypanosomiasis

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Science  17 Nov 1978:
Vol. 202, Issue 4369, pp. 763-765
DOI: 10.1126/science.715441


A new approach to the culture of African trypanosomes led to the growth of the infective forms of the causative agent of human African trypanosomiasis. Infective cultures of Trypanosoma rhodesiense were initiated and maintained in vitro on Chinese hamster lung cells. By changing daily one-third of the Hepes-buffered RPMI 1640 medium containing 20 percent fetal bovine serum, the trypanosome numbers increased to 3 X 10(6) to 5 X 10(6) cells per milliliter. After 80 days in vitro at 37 degrees C, the cultured trypomastigotes are infective for mice and rats and morphologically similar to bloodstream trypomastigotes in having a subterminal kinetoplast and a surface coat. In addition, they possess L-alpha-glycerophosphate oxidase, the predominant steady-state terminal oxidase of bloodstream trypomastigotes.