, Volume 33, Issue 9, pp 1147-1152

Giardia lamblia infection in immunosuppressed animals causes severe alterations to brush border membrane enzymes

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NMRI mice immunosuppressed with dexamethasone followed by challenge intraesophageally with axenic Giardia lamblia (Portland I) trophozoites had severe infection in terms of the trophozoite counts in the jejunum. Although the immunosuppressive treatment with cortisone itself resulted in a deleterious effect on brush border membrane enzymes, the decline in disaccharidases (sucrase, maltase, and lactase) and alkaline phosphatase was highly significant (P<0.001) following G. lamblia infection. The alterations in enzymatic activity in immune intact but infected animals demonstrated the potential of the parasite itself to cause damage to the brush border membrane. We believe that individuals with underlying immunodeficiency, upon infection with G. lamblia, may have increased damage of the brush border membrane, leading to severe malabsorption.