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The protozoan Giardia lamblia is the most common cause of parasitic gastrointestinal infection worldwide. The parasite developed sophisticated, yet not completely disclosed, mechanisms to escape immune system and growth in the intestine. To further understand the interaction of G. lamblia with host immune cells, we investigated the ability of parasites to modulate the canonical activation of mouse macrophages (Raw 264.7 cell line) and human monocyte-derived macrophages triggered by the TLR4 agonist, lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We observed that G. lamblia impairs LPS-evoked pro-inflammatory status in these macrophage-like cells through inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase expression and subsequent NO production. This effect was in part due to the activity of three G. lamblia proteases, a 135kDa metalloprotease and two cysteine proteases with 75 and 63kDa, that cleave the p65(RelA) subunit of the nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B). Moreover, Tnf and Ccl4 transcription was increased in the presence of the parasite. Overall, our data indicates that G. lamblia modulates macrophages inflammatory response through impairment of the NF-kappa B, thus silencing a crucial signaling pathway of the host innate immune response.


Faria, Clarissa Perez;  Neves, Bruno Miguel;  Lourenco, Agata;  Cruz, Maria Teresa;  Martins, Joao D.;  Silva, Ana;  Pereira, Sonia;  Sousa, Maria do Ceu

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