The assertion that ingestion of human erythrocytes is restricted to invasive strains of Entamoeba histolytica has not been evaluated previously by comparative studies. In this report we describe the in vitro ingestion of human erythrocytes by pathogenic and nonpathogenic Entamoeba. Microscopic evaluation of erythrophagocytosis by eight different Entamoeba grown in culture revealed that strains of E. histolytica isolated from cases of human dysentery show a much higher rate of erythrocyte ingestion than nonpathogenic strains. However, all strains are able to phagocytize erythrocytes. The extremely high rate of phagocytic activity shown by pathogenic E. histolytica could be one of the properties related to the pathogenicity of this parasitic protozoan.

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