Immunosuppression in Experimental Acute and Subacute Chagasic Myocarditis

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  • Thorndike Memorial Laboratory, Harvard Medical Unit, Departments of Medicine and Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston City Hospital 02118

One hundred twenty weanling and 168 adult, male C3H mice were studied to determine the possible role of immune processes in the pathogenesis of Chagasic cardiomyopathy. Experimental myocarditis was produced with a Colombian strain of Trypanosoma cruzi. Cyclophosphamide, 40 mg per kg, was used for immunosuppression, and it was administered in the early, the subacute, and the late subacute phases of the disease. Immunosuppression uniformly increased mortality, parasitemia, and the severity of myocarditis. Involvement and dilatation of the right ventricle dominated, without gross dilatation or hypertrophy of the left ventricle. The immune responses in Chagas' disease are beneficial to the host. Immunosuppressive therapy may be hazardous in patients with Chagas' disease.

Author Notes

Intructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Research Associate, Thorndike Memorial Laboratory, Boston City Hospital.

Formerly Clinical Associate in Pathology, Harvard Medical School. Presently Director of Pathology, The Lankenau Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Physician, Thorndike Memorial Laboratory, Boston City Hospital.

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