AIMS: To investigate changes in morphology of the developmental stages of Enterocytozoon bieneusi and symptomatic relief observed in AIDS patients after treatment with furazolidone. METHODS: Six AIDS patients with symptomatic E bieneusi infection of the small intestine were treated with a course of furazolidone. All patients had a weekly monitoring of parasite shedding in stool by light microscopy during and after treatment. At the end of the treatment, duodenal biopsy specimens obtained from three patients were studied by transmission electron microscopy by two pathologists who were unaware of the patients' treatment. RESULTS: All patients showed both clinical and parasitological response with transient clearance or decrease of spore shedding in stool. After treatment, alterations in faecal spores were observed in all patients by light microscopy, and ultrastructural changes in E bieneusi at all stages of the life cycle were demonstrated in biopsy specimens of the three patients who underwent post-treatment endoscopy. CONCLUSIONS: The clinical benefit seen after treatment with furazolidone in six AIDS patients with E bieneusi intestinal infection may be due to damage to the developmental stages causing a partial inhibition to reproduction of the parasite.
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