Objective(s): Adaptive immunity is crucial in controlling Giardia lamblia infection in the intestinal mucosa, and some dietary lipids may improve mucosal immune function. The aim of this study was to evaluate conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on the Th17/Treg response and secretory IgA production in a model of giardiasis infection. Materials and Methods: C3H/HeN male mice were infected with 5×106 G. lamblia trophozoites (GS/M-83-H7, ATCC collection). Mice were assigned randomly to experimental and control groups. CLA was administered to the experimental group and phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) was given to the control group. Parasite load kinetics was determined. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was performed to evaluate IgA and cytokines. Nuclear transcription factors and cytokines were measured by RT-qPCR, and histology of small bowel cells was evaluated. Results: CLA administration reduced the parasite load (P<0.05) and increased early Giardia-specific secretory IgA production. CLA also increased the expression of interleukin-10, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) (P<0.05), while infection elevated the expression of Foxp3, with a peak at 40 days post-infection (P<0.05). There were no pathological changes in the colonic mucosa due to infection or treatment. Thus, CLA stimulated mucosal immunity and enhanced the humoral response against G. lamblia, not only for early infection control but also to promote regulatory cytokine production at 40 dpi, restoring the intestinal balance after parasite elimination. Conclusion: Our findings reveal novel anti-parasitic effects through the immune-modulatory activity of CLA against the intestinal parasite G. lamblia.
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