Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Serum Levels of Zinc, Copper, Vitamin B12, Folate and Immunoglobulins in Individuals with Giardiasis

Academic journal article Iranian Journal of Public Health

Serum Levels of Zinc, Copper, Vitamin B12, Folate and Immunoglobulins in Individuals with Giardiasis

Article excerpt


Background: Giardia lamblia is one of the most important intestinal parasites. The aim of this study was to measure serum levels of IgA, IgE, zinc, copper, vitamin B12 and folate in individuals with giardiasis in comparison to normal subjects.

Methods: The study was carried out among 49 Giardia positive and 39 age and sex matched healthy volunteers. Examination of stool samples was done by direct wet smear and formol-ether concentration method. Serum samples were obtained for further laboratory examination. IgA levels were measured by Single Radial Immune Diffusion (SRID). IgE levels were measured by ELISA kit. Zinc and copper levels was measured by Ziestchem Diagnostics Kit and colorimetric endpoint-method respectively. Vitamin B12 and folate levels were measured by DRG Diagnostics Kit and Enzyme Immunoassay method respectively. All data were analyzed using SPSS version 17.

Results: There was a statistically significant difference in IgA, IgE, copper and zinc levels between positive and negative groups (P<0.05). There was no significant difference between vitamin B12 and folate levels between the two groups. Mean values of Giardia positive and negative groups for IgA were 309.26 and 216.89 mg/dl, IgE 167.34 and 35.49 IU/ml, copper 309.74 and 253.61 µg/dl and zinc 69.41 and 144.75 µg/dl respectively.

Conclusion: The results showed levels of IgA may correlate more closely with giardiasis than IgE. Regarding trace elements, giardiasis elevated serum copper levels, while it decreased serum zinc. Finally, there was no significant difference in serum levels of vitamin B12 and folic acid between the two groups.

Keywords: Giardia, IgA, IgE, Zinc, Copper, Vitamin B 12, Folate, Iran


Intestinal parasites are still important a worldwide public health problem. Giardia lamblia is one of the important intestinal parasites that cause both acute and chronic diarrheal diseases in human (1). Symptomatic giardiasis is also characterized by epigastric pain, nausea, vomiting and weight loss (2). Giardia is a flagellated protozoa, has two forms, cyst and trophozoite. Infection is initiated by ingestion of cysts from contaminated food and water and by person-to-person contact. Trophozoits of Giardia colonize the lumen of the small intestine but do not invade the epithelium or deeper layers of the mucosa (3). Infections with Giardia are usually self-limited in immune competent individuals. Mucosal defenses against Giardia must act in the small intestine. Secretory antibodies against Giardia play a central role in anti-giardial defense and clearance of parasite. Patient deficient for the production of IgA, the major immunoglobulin in mucosal secretions, appear to have slightly increased incidence of Giardia infections (3).

Immune responses to Giardia occur in the intestinal mucosa and a spectrum of inflammatory mechanisms company this infection (2-4). While it is well established that infection by intestinal helminths is frequently associated with immediate hypersensitivity reactions and eosinophilia can cause the polyclonal stimulation of IgE synthesis, the presence of an IgE response in giardiasis is not so clear. A number of reports have described the existence of allergic symptoms in persons with giardiasis. Elevated levels of serum IgE and eosinophilia have also occasionally been described in this infection (5). Despite wide research, the host response to infection remains enigmatic. Therefore, antibody assay is expected to be a useful marker in this field.

Trace elements regulate key metabolic pathways, modulate the immune response, and suppress the incidence of various diseases (6, 7). The most important vital elements in human body are copper, zinc and iron. Zinc is necessary for the immune system functions. Zinc deficiency is associated with decline in lymphocyte, which leads to form acute diarrhea (8, 9). Zinc also helps in production of antibodies and T-cell and other blood cell activity (9, 10). …

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