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J Indian Med Assoc. 1990 May;88(5):129-31.

Immunological status of women with prolonged oral contraceptives and occurrence of giardiasis.

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Department of Medicine, Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Calcutta.


Immunological status of 14 women taking oral contraceptive for prolonged period (more than 6 months, low dose pill) was studied. Phytohaemagglutinin induced lymphocytes stimulation (PILT) was found to be significantly depressed in these subjects though T-lymphocyte subpopulation was found to be normal. Serum IgA and IgG levels in these cases were found to be normal but IgM level was increased. Though incidence of G lamblia infection was reported to be high in immunocompromised subjects, it was found only one out of 14 subjects taking oral contraceptive harboured the protozoa.


Whether use of oral contraceptives depresses the immune system in Indian women, and whether they affect the prevalence of giardiasis in users, was explored by testing immune function and stools for Giardia lamblia in 14 pill users and 10 controls. The subjects were aged 18-40 and had taken a low dose oral contraceptive for at least 6 months. The immune functions examined were quantitative serum IgG, IgA and IgM levels by radial immunodiffusion, cell-mediated response to phytohemagglutinin, and peripheral T-cell counts. 1 pill user had signs of giardia infection. Immunoglobin levels in the other were not significantly different from controls, except for IgM, which was 415.34 mg/dl in pill users, vs. 251.69 in controls. T-cells were normal in 1 pill user tested. The mean blastogenic index, or lymphocyte transformation index, was significantly depressed at 6.6 in pill users as well as the woman with giardia, compared to 17.6 in controls. The reported incidence of giardiasis in an adult Indian population was 4.4%, thus the incidence in these pill users was not increased. The significance of the immunologic findings was unknown.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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