Giardia Lamblia: Evaluation of the in Vitro Effects of Nocodazole and Colchicine on Trophozoites

Exp Parasitol. 2005 May;110(1):62-72. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2005.01.007.


Giardia lamblia is the most commonly detected parasite in the intestinal tract of humans and other mammals causing giardiasis. Giardia presents several cytoskeletal structures with microtubules as major components such as the ventral adhesive disk, eight flagella axonemes, the median body and funis. Many drugs have already been tested as antigiardial agents, such as albendazole and mebendazole, which act by specifically inhibiting tubulin polymerization and hence microtubule assembly. In the present work, we used the microtubule inhibitors nocodazole and colchicine in order to investigate their direct and indirect effects on Giardia ultrastructure and attachment to the glass surface, respectively. Axenically grown G. lamblia trophozoites were treated with nocodazole or colchicine for different time intervals and analyzed by light and electron microscopy. It was observed that trophozoites became completely misshapen, detached from the glass surface and failed to complete cell division. The main alterations observed included disc fragmentation, presence of large vacuoles, and appearance of electrondense deposits made of tubulin. The cytokinesis was blocked, but not the karyokinesis, and membrane blebs were observed. These findings show that Giardia behavior and cytoskeleton are clearly affected by the commonly used microtubule targetting agents colchicine and nozodazole.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Colchicine / pharmacology*
  • Cytoskeleton / drug effects
  • Giardia lamblia / drug effects*
  • Giardia lamblia / ultrastructure
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Microtubules / drug effects
  • Movement / drug effects
  • Nocodazole / pharmacology*


  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Nocodazole
  • Colchicine