Researchers continue to rely on axenic cultivation of Giardia duodenalis trophozoites in vitro to study the life cycle and host–parasite interactions of G. duodenalis and to develop vaccines and drugs to prevent and treat giardiasis. The majority of in vitro studies of G. duodenalis have used a small subset of isolates, mostly of assemblage A, and these isolates are usually originally isolated from humans. The most commonly used isolate for lab studies is known as WB. Canine giardiasis is a disease of veterinary importance, but it may also be of relevance in zoonotic transmission. Few G. duodenalis isolates from dogs have been adapted to in vitro culture, probably because the methods used are not suitable for the canine-specific genotypes that tend to dominate in most dog populations. In the current study, an experimental approach to cultivating canine-derived isolates of G. duodenalis was attempted by modification of the standard protocol based on physiological differences between the human and canine digestive system. An adapted method is described for improving the rate of in vitro excystation of cysts isolated from dogs by chemically weakening the cyst wall. A new canine-derived assemblage A G. duodenalis isolate was successfully adapted to axenic culture by using this method; the dog apparently had a mixed infection of assemblages A and D, but the assemblage A successfully outcompeted the assemblage D under conditions of in vitro culture. Based on the results, reasons regarding why humans do not seem to be suitable hosts for G. duodenalis in assemblages C and D are discussed.

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