Role of nitric oxide and superoxide in Giardia lamblia killing

Braz J Med Biol Res. 1997 Jan;30(1):93-9. doi: 10.1590/s0100-879x1997000100015.


Giardia lamblia trophozoites were incubated for 2 h with activated murine macrophages, nitric oxide (NO) donors or a superoxide anion generator (20 mU/ml xanthine oxidase plus 1 mM xanthine). Activated macrophages were cytotoxic to Giardia trophozoites (approximately 60% dead trophozoites). The effect was inhibited (> 90%) by an NO synthase inhibitor (200 microM) and unaffected by superoxide dismutase (SOD, 300 U/ml). Giardia trophozoites were killed by the NO donors, S-nitroso-acetyl-penicillamine (SNAP) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP) in a dose-dependent manner (LD50 300 and 50 microM, respectively). A dual NO-superoxide anion donor, 3-morpholino-sydnonimine hydrochloride (SIN-1), did not have a killing effect in concentrations up to 1 mM. However, when SOD (300 U/ml) was added simultaneously with SIN-1 to Giardia, a significant trophozoite-killing effect was observed (approximately 35% dead trophozoites at 1 mM). The mixtures of SNAP or SNP with superoxide anion, which yields peroxynitrite, abolished the trophozoite killing induced by NO donors. Authentic peroxynitrite only killed trophozoites at very high concentrations (3 mM). These results indicate that NO accounts for Giardia trophozoites killing and this effect is not mediated by peroxynitrite.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Giardia lamblia / drug effects*
  • Giardiasis / drug therapy*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nitric Oxide / therapeutic use*
  • Nitroprusside / pharmacology
  • Penicillamine / analogs & derivatives
  • Penicillamine / pharmacology
  • Superoxides / therapeutic use*


  • Superoxides
  • Nitroprusside
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Penicillamine