Trypanosoma cruzi Infection through the Oral Route Promotes a Severe Infection in Mice: New Disease Form from an Old Infection?
ABSTRACT: Oral transmission of Chagas disease has been documented in Latin American countries. Nevertheless, significant studies on the pathophysiology of this form of infection are largely lacking. The few studies investigating oral route infection disregard that inoculation in the oral cavity (Oral infection, OI) or by gavage (Gastrointestinal infection, GI) represent different infection routes, yet both show clear-cut parasitemia and heart parasitism during the acute infection. Herein, BALB/c mice were subjected to acute OI or GI infection using 5x10(4) culture-derived Trypanosoma cruzi trypomastigotes. OI mice displayed higher parasitemia and mortality rates than their GI counterparts. Heart histopathology showed larger areas of infiltration in the GI mice, whereas liver lesions were more severe in the OI animals, accompanied by higher Alanine Transaminase and Aspartate Transaminase serum contents. A differential cytokine pattern was also observed because OI mice presented higher pro-inflammatory cytokine (IFN-?, TNF) serum levels than GI animals. Real-time PCR confirmed a higher TNF, IFN-?, as well as IL-10 expression in the cardiac tissue from the OI group compared with GI. Conversely, TGF-? and IL-17 serum levels were greater in the GI animals. Immunolabeling revealed macrophages as the main tissue source of TNF in infected mice. The high mortality rate observed in the OI mice paralleled the TNF serum rise, with its inhibition by an anti-TNF treatment. Moreover, differences in susceptibility between GI versus OI mice were more clearly related to the host response than to the effect of gastric pH on parasites, since infection in magnesium hydroxide-treated mice showed similar results. Overall, the present study provides conclusive evidence that the initial site of parasite entrance critically affects host immune response and disease outcome. In light of the occurrence of oral Chagas disease outbreaks, our results raise important implications in terms of the current view of the natural disease course and host-parasite relationship.
Project description:Oral transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease, is presently the most important route of infection in Brazilian Amazon. Other South American countries have also reported outbreaks of acute Chagas disease associated with food consumption. A conspicuous feature of this route of transmission is presenting symptoms such as facial and lower limbs edema, in some cases bleeding manifestations and risk of thromboembolism are evident. Notwithstanding, studies that address this route of infection are largely lacking regarding its pathogenesis and, more specifically, the crosstalk between immune and hemostatic systems. Here, BALB/c mice were orally infected with metacyclic trypomastigotes of T. cruzi Tulahuén strain and used to evaluate the cytokine response, primary and secondary hemostasis during acute T. cruzi infection. When compared with control uninfected animals, orally infected mice presented higher pro-inflammatory cytokine (TNF-?, IFN-?, and IL-6) serum levels. The highest concentrations were obtained concomitantly to the increase of parasitemia, between 14 and 28 days post-infection (dpi). Blood counts in the oral infected group revealed concomitant leukocytosis and thrombocytopenia, the latter resulting in increased bleeding at 21 dpi. Hematological changes paralleled with prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time, Factor VIII consumption and increased D-dimer levels, suggest that oral T. cruzi infection relies on disseminated intravascular coagulation. Remarkably, blockade of the IL-6 receptor blunted hematological abnormalities, revealing a critical role of IL-6 in the course of oral infection. These results unravel that acute T. cruzi oral infection results in significant alterations in the hemostatic system and indicates the relevance of the crosstalk between inflammation and hemostasis in this parasitic disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND: B cells and antibodies are involved not only in controlling the spread of blood circulating Trypanosoma cruzi, but also in the autoreactive manifestations observed in Chagas disease. Acute infection results in polyclonal B cell activation associated with hypergammaglobulinemia, delayed specific humoral immunity and high levels of non-parasite specific antibodies. Since TNF superfamily B lymphocyte Stimulator (BAFF) mediates polyclonal B cell response in vitro triggered by T. cruzi antigens, and BAFF-Tg mice show similar signs to T. cruzi infected mice, we hypothesized that BAFF can mediate polyclonal B cell response in experimental Chagas disease. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: BAFF is produced early and persists throughout the infection. To analyze BAFF role in experimental Chagas disease, Balb/c infected mice were injected with BR3:Fc, a soluble receptor of BAFF, to block BAFF activity. By BAFF blockade we observed that this cytokine mediates the mature B cell response and the production of non-parasite specific IgM and IgG. BAFF also influences the development of antinuclear IgG and parasite-specific IgM response, not affecting T. cruzi-specific IgG and parasitemia. Interestingly, BAFF inhibition favors the parasitism in heart. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results demonstrate, for the first time, an active role for BAFF in shaping the mature B cell repertoire in a parasite infection.
Project description:Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, has high affinity for lipoproteins and adipose tissue. Infection results in myocarditis, fat loss and alterations in lipid homeostasis. This study was aimed at analyzing the effect of high fat diet (HFD) on regulating acute T. cruzi infection-induced myocarditis and to evaluate the effect of HFD on lipid metabolism in adipose tissue and heart during acute T. cruzi infection.CD1 mice were infected with T. cruzi (Brazil strain) and fed either a regular control diet (RD) or HFD for 35 days following infection. Serum lipid profile, tissue cholesterol levels, blood parasitemia, and tissue parasite load were analyzed to evaluate the effect of diet on infection. MicroPET and MRI analysis were performed to examine the morphological and functional status of the heart during acute infection. qPCR and immunoblot analysis were carried out to analyze the effect of diet on the genes involved in the host lipid metabolism during infection. Oil red O staining of the adipose tissue demonstrated reduced lipolysis in HFD compared to RD fed mice. HFD reduced mortality, parasitemia and cardiac parasite load, but increased parasite load in adipocytes. HFD decreased lipolysis during acute infection. Both qPCR and protein analysis demonstrated alterations in lipid metabolic pathways in adipose tissue and heart in RD fed mice, which were further modulated by HFD. Both microPET and MRI analyses demonstrated changes in infected RD murine hearts which were ameliorated by HFD.These studies indicate that Chagasic cardiomyopathy is associated with a cardiac lipidpathy and that both cardiac lipotoxicity and adipose tissue play a role in the pathogenesis of Chagas disease. HFD protected mice from T. cruzi infection-induced myocardial damage most likely due to the effects of HFD on both adipogenesis and T. cruzi infection-induced cardiac lipidopathy.
Project description:Protective immunity against Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, depends on the activation of macrophages by IFN-γ and IL-17A. In contrast, IL-10 prevents immunopathology. IL-22 belongs to the IL-10 cytokine family and has pleiotropic effects during host defense and immunopathology, however its role in protection and pathology during T. cruzi infection has not been analyzed yet. Therefore, we examined the role of IL-22 in experimental Chagas disease using the reticulotropic Tulahuen strain of T. cruzi. During infection, IL-22 is secreted by CD4-positive cells in an IL-23-dependent fashion. Infected IL-22(-/-) mice exhibited an increased production of IFN-γ and TNF and displayed enhanced numbers of activated IFN-γ-producing T cells in their spleens. Additionally, the production of IL-10 was increased in IL-22(-/-) mice upon infection. Macrophage activation and by association the parasitemia was not affected in the absence of IL-22. Apart from a transient increase in the body weight loss, infected IL-22(-/-) mice did not show any signs for an altered immunopathology during the first fourteen days of infection. Taken together, although IL-22 is expressed, it seems to play a minor role in protection and pathology during the acute systemic infection with the reticulotropic Tulahuen strain of T. cruzi.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Trypanosoma cruzi (Tc) causes Chagas disease (CD) that is the most frequent cause of heart failure in Latin America. TNF-?+ monocytes/macrophages (Mo/M?) are associated with inflammatory pathology in chronic CD. In this study, we determined the progenitor lineage of Mo/M? contributing to inflammation and examined the regulatory role of SIRT1 in modulating the Mo/M? response in Chagas disease. METHODS AND RESULTS:C57BL/6 mice were infected with Tc, treated with SIRT1 agonist (SRT1720) after control of acute parasitemia, and monitored during chronic phase (150 days post-infection). Flow cytometry studies showed an increase in maturation of bone marrow hematopoietic stem cell (HSC)-derived Mo of proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory phenotype in acutely- and chronically-infected mice; however, these cells were not increased in splenic compartment of infected mice. Instead, yolk-sac-derived CD11b+ F4/80+ Mo/M? were increased in sinusoidal compartment of Chagas mice. The splenic CD11b+ F4/80+ Mo/M? of Chagas (vs. control) mice exhibited increased mRNA, protein, and surface expression of markers of proinflammatory phenotype (CD80+/CD64+ > CD200+/CD206+) associated with proinflammatory cytokines response (IL-6+TNF-? >> Arg-1+IL-10), and these were also detected in the myocardium of chronically infected mice. Infected mice treated with SRT1720 (vs. infected/untreated) exhibited decreased splenic expansion and myocardial infiltration of proinflammatory Mo/M?. SRT1720 did not alter the inherent capability of splenic Mo/M? of Chagas mice to respond to pathogen stimulus. Instead, SRT1720 dampened the Tc-induced increase in the expression and/or phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and downstream transcription factors (Pu.1, c-Myb, and Runx1) involved in M? proliferation and migration and Notch1 involved in functional activation. Studies in cultured M? confirmed the agonistic effects of SIRT1 in controlling the Tc-induced, FAK-dependent increase in the expression of transcription factors and showed that SIRT1 agonist and FAK inhibitor abrogated the NF-?B transcriptional activity and inflammatory cytokine gene expression in Tc-infected M?. CONCLUSIONS:The proinflammatory Mo/M? of yolk sac origin drive the splenic and tissue inflammatory response in chronic CD. SRT1720 reprogrammed the Tc-induced FAK-dependent transcription factors involved in M? proliferation and proinflammatory activation in Chagas disease.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chagas disease, also known as American Trypanosomiasis, is a chronic parasitic disease caused by the flagellated protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi that affects about 8 million people around the world where more than 25 million are at risk of contracting the infection. Despite of being endemic on 21 Latin-American countries, Chagas disease has become a global concern due to migratory movements. Unfortunately, available drugs for the treatment have several limitations and they are generally administered during the chronic phase of the infection, when its efficacy is considered controversial. Thus, prophylactic and/or therapeutic vaccines are emerging as interesting control alternatives. In this work, we proposed Trypanosoma cruzi 80 kDa prolyl oligopeptidase (Tc80) as a new antigen for vaccine development against Chagas disease. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:In a murine model, we analyzed the immune response triggered by different immunization protocols based on Tc80 and evaluated their ability to confer protection against a challenge with the parasite. Immunized mice developed Tc80-specific antibodies which were able to carry out different functions such as: enzymatic inhibition, neutralization of parasite infection and complement-mediated lysis of trypomastigotes. Furthermore, vaccinated mice elicited strong cell-mediated immunity. Spleen cells from immunized mice proliferated and secreted Th1 cytokines (IL-2, IFN-? and TNF-?) upon re-stimulation with rTc80. Moreover, we found Tc80-specific polyfunctional CD4 T cells, and cytotoxic T lymphocyte activity against one Tc80 MHC-I peptide. Immunization protocols conferred protection against a T. cruzi lethal challenge. Immunized groups showed a decreased parasitemia and higher survival rate compared with non-immunized control mice. Moreover, during the chronic phase of the infection, immunized mice presented: lower levels of myopathy-linked enzymes, parasite burden, electrocardiographic disorders and inflammatory cells. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:Considering that an early control of parasite burden and tissue damage might contribute to avoid the progression towards symptomatic forms of chronic Chagas disease, the efficacy of Tc80-based vaccines make this molecule a promising immunogen for a mono or multicomponent vaccine against T. cruzi infection.
Project description:Arylimidamides (AIAs) have shown outstanding in vitro potency against intracellular kinetoplastid parasites, and the AIA 2,5-bis[2-(2-propoxy)-4-(2-pyridylimino)aminophenyl]furan dihydrochloride (DB766) displayed good in vivo efficacy in rodent models of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and Chagas' disease. In an attempt to further increase the solubility and in vivo antikinetoplastid potential of DB766, the mesylate salt of this compound and that of the closely related AIA 2,5-bis[2-(2-cyclopentyloxy)-4-(2-pyridylimino)aminophenyl]furan hydrochloride (DB1852) were prepared. These two mesylate salts, designated DB1960 and DB1955, respectively, exhibited dose-dependent activity in the murine model of VL, with DB1960 inhibiting liver parasitemia by 51% at an oral dose of 100 mg/kg/day × 5 and DB1955 reducing liver parasitemia by 57% when given by the same dosing regimen. In a murine Trypanosoma cruzi infection model, DB1960 decreased the peak parasitemia levels that occurred at 8 days postinfection by 46% when given orally at 100 mg/kg/day × 5, while DB1955 had no effect on peak parasitemia levels when administered by the same dosing regimen. Distribution studies revealed that these compounds accumulated to micromolar levels in the liver, spleen, and kidneys but to a lesser extent in the heart, brain, and plasma. A 5-day repeat-dose toxicology study with DB1960 and DB1955 was also conducted with female BALB/c mice, with the compounds administered orally at 100, 200, and 500 mg/kg/day. In the high-dose groups, DB1960 caused changes in serum chemistry, with statistically significant increases in serum blood urea nitrogen, lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase levels, and a 21% decrease in body weight was observed in this group. These changes were consistent with microscopic findings in the livers and kidneys of the treated animals. The incidences of observed clinical signs (hunched posture, tachypnea, tremors, and ruffled fur) were more frequent in DB1960-treated groups than in those treated with DB1955. However, histopathological examination of tissue samples indicated that both compounds had adverse effects at all dose levels.
Project description:A new epidemiological scenario involving the oral transmission of Chagas disease, mainly in the Amazon basin, requires innovative control measures. Geospatial analyses of the Trypanosoma cruzi transmission cycle in the wild mammals have been scarce. We applied interpolation and map algebra methods to evaluate mammalian fauna variables related to small wild mammals and the T. cruzi infection pattern in dogs to identify hotspot areas of transmission. We also evaluated the use of dogs as sentinels of epidemiological risk of Chagas disease. Dogs (n?=?649) were examined by two parasitological and three distinct serological assays. kDNA amplification was performed in patent infections, although the infection was mainly sub-patent in dogs. The distribution of T. cruzi infection in dogs was not homogeneous, ranging from 11-89% in different localities. The interpolation method and map algebra were employed to test the associations between the lower richness in mammal species and the risk of exposure of dogs to T. cruzi infection. Geospatial analysis indicated that the reduction of the mammal fauna (richness and abundance) was associated with higher parasitemia in small wild mammals and higher exposure of dogs to infection. A Generalized Linear Model (GLM) demonstrated that species richness and positive hemocultures in wild mammals were associated with T. cruzi infection in dogs. Domestic canine infection rates differed significantly between areas with and without Chagas disease outbreaks (Chi-squared test). Geospatial analysis by interpolation and map algebra methods proved to be a powerful tool in the evaluation of areas of T. cruzi transmission. Dog infection was shown to not only be an efficient indicator of reduction of wild mammalian fauna richness but to also act as a signal for the presence of small wild mammals with high parasitemia. The lower richness of small mammal species is discussed as a risk factor for the re-emergence of Chagas disease.
Project description:Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan pathogen Trypanosoma cruzi, remains a challenging infection due to the unavailability of safe and efficacious drugs. Inhibitors of the trypanosome sterol 14?-demethylase enzyme (CYP51), including azole antifungal drugs, are promising candidates for development as anti-Chagas disease drugs. Posaconazole is under clinical investigation for Chagas disease, although the high cost of this drug may limit its widespread use. We have previously reported that the human protein farnesyltransferase (PFT) inhibitor tipifarnib has potent anti-T. cruzi activity by inhibiting the CYP51 enzyme. Furthermore, we have developed analogs that minimize the PFT-inhibitory activity and enhance the CYP51 inhibition. In this paper, we describe the efficacy of the lead tipifarnib analog compared to that of posaconazole in a murine model of T. cruzi infection. The plasma exposure profiles for each compound following a single oral dose in mice and estimated exposure parameters after repeated twice-daily dosing for 20 days are also presented. The lead tipifarnib analog had potent suppressive activity on parasitemia in mice but was unsuccessful at curing mice, whereas posaconazole as well as benznidazole cured 3 of 5 and 4 of 6 mice, respectively. The efficacy results are consistent with posaconazole having substantially higher predicted exposure than that of the tipifarnib analog after repeat twice-daily administration. Further changes to the tipifarnib analogs to reduce plasma clearance are therefore likely to be important. A crystal structure of a trypanosomal CYP51 bound to a tipifarnib analog is reported here and provides new insights to guide structure-based drug design for further optimized compounds.
Project description:We report structure-activity studies of a large number of dialkyl imidazoles as inhibitors of Trypanosoma cruzi lanosterol-14alpha-demethylase (L14DM). The compounds have a simple structure compared to posaconazole, another L14DM inhibitor that is an anti-Chagas drug candidate. Several compounds display potency for killing T. cruzi amastigotes in vitro with values of EC(50) in the 0.4-10 nM range. Two compounds were selected for efficacy studies in a mouse model of acute Chagas disease. At oral doses of 20-50 mg/kg given after establishment of parasite infection, the compounds reduced parasitemia in the blood to undetectable levels, and analysis of remaining parasites by PCR revealed a lack of parasites in the majority of animals. These dialkyl imidazoles are substantially less expensive to produce than posaconazole and are appropriate for further development toward an anti-Chagas disease clinical candidate.