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Infect Immun. 1987 Dec;55(12):3155-61.

Ingestion of Giardia lamblia trophozoites by human mononuclear phagocytes.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington 06032.


Mononuclear phagocytes may be important effector cells against Giardia lamblia. Human monocyte-derived macrophages were incubated with G. lamblia trophozoites in 13% heat-inactivated autologous serum. At a G. lamblia/macrophage ratio of 1:1, the number of trophozoites ingested per 100 macrophages ranged from 1 to 12 at 0.5 h and increased for all donors (n = 6) to 10 to 92 at 8 h. Ingestion was confirmed by electron microscopy. Increasing the parasite/phagocyte ratio to 5:1 increased the percentage of macrophages with adherent but not ingested trophozoites. Incubating Giardia cells and macrophages with 20% immune serum increased ingestion of parasites eightfold, indicating that anti-G. lamblia antibody can enhance ingestion. Both phase-contrast microscopy and electron microscopy documented trophozoite destruction within macrophages. Ingestion of parasites elicited an oxidative burst as measured by luminol-enhanced chemiluminescence. In vitro, Giardia trophozoites were killed by greater than or equal to 5 X 10(-5) M H2O2. Fusion of lysosomes with parasite-containing phagosomes was suggested by acridine orange-stained preparations. Human macrophages have the capacity to ingest Giardia trophozoites and to kill intracellular parasites, possibly by oxidative microbicidal mechanisms.

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