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A DTU-dependent blood parasitism and a DTU-independent tissue parasitism during mixed infection of Trypanosoma cruzi in immunosuppressed mice

Sales-Campos, Helioswilton, Kappel, Henrique Borges, Andrade, Cristiane Pontes, Lima, Tiago Pereira, Mattos, Mardén Estevão, Jr., de Castilho, Alessandra, Correia, Dalmo, Giraldo, Luis Eduardo Ramirez, Lages-Silva, Eliane
Parasitology research 2014 v.113 no.1 pp. 375-385
Chagas disease, Trypanosoma cruzi, biomarkers, blood, mice, mixed infection, parasites, parasitism
Trypanosoma cruzi (Tc) diversity is determined by different biological, genetic, and biochemical markers and has been grouped into six discrete typing units (DTUs) or taxonomic groups (TcI–TcVI). This variability, coupled with natural reinfection or the hosts' immunosuppression, may play an important role in the pathogenesis of Chagas disease. Therefore, we evaluated the blood and tissue parasitism and genetic profile of mice coinfected with the TcII (JG) strain and TcI AQ1-7 (AQ) or MUTUM (MT) strains during the acute and chronic phases of the disease and during immunosuppression. T. cruzi blood populations in mixed infections were clearly associated with the TcII strain during acute and chronic phases or during immunosuppression. However, in tissues, the parasite populations were distributed according to the strain and the stage of infection. TcII populations overlapped TcI strains during the acute phase; in contrast, during chronic phase, both TcI strains were more prevalent than the TcII strain. The immunosuppression induced selective exacerbation of parasite populations, leading to reactivation of the TcII strain when associated with the AQ, but not with MT strain. Thus, a differential distribution of T. cruzi populations in blood and tissues with overlapping according to the stage of infection and strain used was observed. Blood parasitism was associated with the DTU TcII and tissue parasitism with a specific parasite strain and not with DTUs. Finally, to our knowledge, this is the first study to analyze subpatent blood parasitism and to simultaneously identify different T. cruzi populations in tissues and blood.