To evaluate the role of gated cardiac magnetic imaging resonance (MRI) in Chagas' disease, we infected mice with Trypanosoma cruzi (Brazil strain). Two models were chosen for study, the CD1 and the inducible nitric oxide synthase knockout (NOS2-/-) mice. Infection of CD1 mice was associated with a significant increase in the right ventricular inner diameter (RVID) that was reversed in some mice by verapamil. Expression of cardiac NOS2 has been associated with myocardial dysfunction. Therefore, we evaluated chagasic cardiomyopathy in NOS2-/- and syngeneic wild type (WT) mice. Infected WT mice exhibited an increase in RVID in the acute phase (< 60 days postinfection) that was more marked during chronic infection (>100 days postinfection). Chronically infected NOS2-/- mice had an increase in RVID. The RVID in infected WT mice was greater than in NOS2-/- mice. These data demonstrate that MRI is a useful tool in the serial evaluation of the heart in murine Chagas' disease. In addition, it supports the notion that the NOS2-/-/NO pathway may contribute to the pathogenesis of murine chagasic cardiomyopathy.