Giardia lamblia: ultrastructural study of the in vitro effect of benzimidazoles

J Protozool. Jul-Aug 1992;39(4):510-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.1992.tb04841.x.


Axenically grown Giardia lamblia trophozoites treated with low concentrations of the benzimidazole carbamates albendazole and mebendazole detach from glass culture tubes and lose viability. Scanning electron microscopic observations revealed that these drugs produce grotesque modifications of the cell shape of the parasite and disassembly of the adhesive disc. Transmission electron microscopy showed several stages of the fragmentation of adhesive discs with dispersion of microtubules and microribbons in the cytoplasm. Flagella appeared undamaged. In drug-treated trophozoites electron-dense precipitates were selectively deposited on microtubules and microribbons. The results indicate that the antigiardial effect of benzimidazoles is the result of binding to microtubules and subsequent alterations of the cytoskeleton. The electron microscopic observations also suggest that the drugs may bind to microribbon components of the adhesive disc, possibly giardin proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albendazole / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cytoskeleton / drug effects
  • Giardia lamblia / drug effects*
  • Giardia lamblia / ultrastructure
  • Mebendazole / pharmacology*


  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Mebendazole
  • Albendazole