Author(s): AstiazarnGarca H, IigoFigueroa G, QuihuiCota L, AnduroCorona I
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Abstract Zinc supplementation has been shown to reduce the incidence and prevalence of diarrhea; however, its anti-diarrheal effect remains only partially understood. There is now growing evidence that zinc can have pathogen-specific protective effects. Giardiasis is a common yet neglected cause of acute-chronic diarrheal illness worldwide which causes disturbances in zinc metabolism of infected children, representing a risk factor for zinc deficiency. How zinc metabolism is compromised by Giardia is not well understood; zinc status could be altered by intestinal malabsorption, organ redistribution or host-pathogen competition. The potential metal-binding properties of Giardia suggest unusual ways that the parasite may interact with its host. Zinc supplementation was recently found to reduce the rate of diarrhea caused by Giardia in children and to upregulate humoral immune response in Giardia-infected mice; in vitro and in vivo, zinc-salts enhanced the activity of bacitracin in a zinc-dose-dependent way, and this was not due to zinc toxicity. These findings reflect biological effect of zinc that may impact significantly public health in endemic areas of infection. In this paper, we shall explore one direction of this complex interaction, discussing recent information regarding zinc status and its possible contribution to the outcome of the encounter between the host and Giardia.
This article was published in Nutrients
and referenced in Pediatrics & Therapeutics