Two Giardia isolates were axenised in vitro after recovery by duodenal aspiration from a man with hypo-gamma globulinaemia and chronic giardiasis, before and after three unsuccessful courses of metronidazole. In vitro drug sensitivity assays showed that the pretreatment isolate was sensitive to metronidazole with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and dose that inhibited growth by 50% (ED50) values of 0.1 and 0.03 mumol/l, respectively. The post-treatment isolate was 20-fold more resistant (MIC and ED50 4.3 and 0.58 mumol/l, respectively). Differences between these isolates were also found in the surface protein profiles after radioiodination, metabolic labelling patterns with 35S-methionine, malic enzyme isoenzyme patterns, and by DNA fingerprinting with a M-13 bacteriophage probe. The phenotypic and genotypic differences between the pretreatment and post-treatment isolates suggest that we have isolated two different strains from the same patient and that treatment with metronidazole resulted in selection of the more resistant strain.
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