T-cell-dependent control of acute Giardia lamblia infections in mice

Infect Immun. 2000 Jan;68(1):170-5. doi: 10.1128/IAI.68.1.170-175.2000.


We have studied immune mechanisms responsible for control of acute Giardia lamblia and Giardia muris infections in adult mice. Association of chronic G. lamblia infection with hypogammaglobulinemia and experimental infections of mice with G. muris have led to the hypothesis that antibodies are required to control these infections. We directly tested this hypothesis by infecting B-cell-deficient mice with either G. lamblia or G. muris. Both wild-type mice and B-cell-deficient mice eliminated the vast majority of parasites between 1 and 2 weeks postinfection with G. lamblia. G. muris was also eliminated in both wild-type and B-cell-deficient mice. In contrast, T-cell-deficient and scid mice failed to control G. lamblia infections, as has been shown previously for G. muris. Treatment of wild-type or B-cell-deficient mice with antibodies to CD4 also prevented elimination of G. lamblia, confirming a role for T cells in controlling infections. By infecting mice deficient in either alphabeta- or gammadelta-T-cell receptor (TCR)-expressing T cells, we show that the alphabeta-TCR-expressing T cells are required to control parasites but that the gammadelta-TCR-expressing T cells are not. Finally, infections in mice deficient in production of gamma interferon or interleukin 4 (IL-4) and mice deficient in responding to IL-4 and IL-13 revealed that neither the Th1 nor the Th2 subset is absolutely required for protection from G. lamblia. We conclude that a T-cell-dependent mechanism is essential for controlling acute Giardia infections and that this mechanism is independent of antibody and B cells.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / administration & dosage
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD4 Antigens / immunology
  • Giardia lamblia / immunology*
  • Giardia lamblia / isolation & purification
  • Giardiasis / immunology*
  • Giardiasis / parasitology
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / genetics
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / immunology
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / parasitology
  • Interferon-gamma / deficiency
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interleukin-13 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-4 / deficiency
  • Interleukin-4 / genetics
  • Interleukin-4 / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, SCID
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / deficiency
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / deficiency
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta / genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology


  • Antibodies
  • CD4 Antigens
  • Interleukin-13
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, gamma-delta
  • Interleukin-4
  • Interferon-gamma