Effect of dietary magnesium on the susceptibility of mice to infection by protozoan parasites of the Apicomplexa and Mastigophora phyla.
ABSTRACT Severe magnesium deficiency protects mice against infections by Plasmodium Spp. and Babesia hylomysci which invade mature erythrocytes. By contrast severe magnesium deficiency does not protect against parasite infections by P. berghei which invades reticulocytes, Toxoplasma gondii which invades macrophages, and Trypanosoma brucei which lives free in blood. The results indicate that the infectious response depends on the severity of magnesium deficiency and on the parasite species. The decrease in red blood cell magnesium and increased oxidant stress are possible explanations for the protective effect of magnesium deficiency.