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Dig Dis Sci. 1997 Dec;42(12):2411-9.

Effects of Giardia lamblia infection on gastrointestinal transit and contractility in Mongolian gerbils.

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  • 1Gastrointestinal Research Group, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


To determine if Giardia lamblia infection is associated with altered gastrointestinal transit and smooth muscle contractile function, Mongolian gerbils were infected orogastrically with 2 x 10(5) trophozoites (infected) or vehicle (uninfected controls). At the time of peak colonization, control and infected animals were infused either orogastrically or intraduodenally with 51Cr. Gastric emptying of isotope and intestinal transit (measured by the geometric center of distribution of intestinal 51Cr transit) were significantly (P < 0.05) greater in the infected compared to control animals in both the fasted and the fed states. Then, to determine whether Giardia lamblia has an effect on the contractility of longitudinal and circular smooth muscle, isometric tension of jejunal segments was recorded. The development of active tension with stretch and the dose-response curve to bethanechol were significantly increased in the longitudinal muscle of infected animals compared to controls. However, the circular smooth muscle did not show a similar increase in contractility. These findings suggest that an altered gastrointestinal transit and smooth muscle contractility may be involved in the pathophysiology of giardiasis.

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