Virulence and Pathogenicity Associated with Diversity of Trypanosoma cruzi Stocks and Clones Derived from Chagas' Disease Patients

Liana Lauria-PiresLaboratorio Multidisciplinar de Pesquisa em Doenca de Chagas, Departamento de Patologia, Faculdade de Ciencias da Saude, Universidade de Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil

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Antonio R. L. TeixeiraLaboratorio Multidisciplinar de Pesquisa em Doenca de Chagas, Departamento de Patologia, Faculdade de Ciencias da Saude, Universidade de Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil

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The intraspecific variation that has been described in Trypanosoma cruzi was examined in recent isolates from Chagas' disease patients, using behavioral and molecular markers for characterization of the parasite stocks and derived clones. We used these parasite populations to determine virulence and pathogenicity in vivo. The T. cruzi stocks mSLU142 (megaesophagus) and hSLU239 (heart disease) and the clones h1 and h2 induced very low parasitemias in BALB/c mice, whereas high parasitemias were obtained with clones m1, m2, m3, and m4. Clones m1–m4 also produced heart lesions of higher intensity than those observed in mice infected with the h1 and h2 clones. Furthermore, the heart lesions produced by all of these clones were significantly more intense than those seen in mice infected with either of the T. cruzi parental stocks. In addition, neither the kinetics of growth, doubling time, differentiation in axenic culture, zymodemes, nor DNA restriction length polymorphisms showed correlations with parasitemias and pathogenicity in mice. This study suggests that multiple biochemical and physiological markers are required to enable an association of clinical and pathologic manifestations of the disease with intrinsic characters of the T. cruzi populations.

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