Bile is a major growth factor for the proliferation of Giardia spp. trophozoites in the small intestine and, at high concentrations, stimulates encystment of trophozoites. This report demonstrates that surgical cholestasis to interrupt the flow of bile from liver to intestine or the use of bile-binding resins in the diet can both dramatically decrease the fecal excretion of Giardia muris cysts. Cholestasis produced a 3 log reduction in excretion of G. muris cysts within 24 hr of surgery and a 4 log reduction after 3 days. Sham controls showed no difference in cyst excretion from presurgical control values. Two isocaloric diets were studied: a control diet (N) of Purina mouse chow containing 5% celufil and an experimental diet (CR) containing 5% cholestyramine, a resin that binds bile. Compared with the N diet, the CR diet was associated with reductions in cyst excretion of 3 logs within 1 day. Despite lowered excretion of G. muris cysts in mice fed the cholestyramine diet, the trophozoite recovery from the duodenum was similar with both diets. Cyclic feeding of the CR diet and the N diet at 3-day intervals produced significant oscillations (changes of 3–4 logs) in fecal cyst shedding. The significant reductions in fecal excretion of cysts observed with agents that bind bile suggests that diets capable of binding bile might be a therapeutic means to minimize the fecal excretion of cysts and thereby may help to reduce the risk of spreading giardiasis through fecal–oral contamination.
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Vol. 91 • No. 6