Heart autonomic innervation during the acute phase of experimental American trypanosomiasis in the dog.

C R MachadoDepartamento de Morfologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

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M V CaliariDepartamento de Morfologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

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M de LanaDepartamento de Morfologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

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W L TafuriDepartamento de Morfologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

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Heart autonomic innervation was studied in dogs during the acute phase of the experimental infection with the Berenice-78 strain of Trypanosoma cruzi. A glyoxylic acid-induced fluorescence method for catecholamines and a thiocholine method for demonstrating acetylcholinesterase activity showed the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nerve fibers, respectively. At day 34 of infection, moderate-to-intense rarefaction of both cholinergic and noradrenergic nerve fibers occurred in the atria of all animals coincident with moderate to intense myocarditis. In the ventricles, sympathetic denervation was clearly present only when the inflammatory processes were moderate to intense. Preliminary results on the chronic phase indicate that normal autonomic innervation coexists with an incipient chronic fibrosing myocarditis.

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