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Parasitol Int. 2012 Jun;61(2):280-7. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2011.11.002. Epub 2011 Nov 26.

Giardia disrupts the arrangement of tight, adherens and desmosomal junction proteins of intestinal cells.

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Laboratório de Ultraestrutura Celular Hertha Meyer, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Giardia duodenalis is a parasitic protozoan that causes diarrhea and other symptoms which together constitute a disease known as giardiasis. Although the disease has been well defined, the mechanisms involving the establishment of the infection have not yet been fully elucidated. In this study, we show that after 24h of interaction between parasites and intestinal Caco-2 cells, there was an alteration of the paracellular permeability, as observed by an approximate 42% of reduction in the transepithelial electrical resistance and permeation to ruthenium red, which was concomitant with ultrastructural changes. Nevertheless, epithelium viability was not affected. We also demonstrate that there was no change in expression of junctional proteins (tight and adherens) but that the distribution of these proteins in Caco-2 cells after parasite adhesion was significantly altered, as observed via laser scanning confocal microscopy 3D reconstruction. The present work shows that adhesion of Giardia duodenalis trophozoites to intestinal cells in vitro induces disturbances of the tight, adherens and desmosomal junctions.

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