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Nonspecific Lymphocytic Myocarditis in Baboons Is Associated with Trypanosoma cruzi Infection

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  • 1 Department of Primatology, Center for Laboratory Animal Breeding, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil; Southwest National Primate Research Center at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, Texas; Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas; Fluminense Federal University, Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Non-specific lymphocytic myocarditis (NLM) is frequently observed in baboons within the endemic range of Trypanosoma cruzi. We sought to determine whether T. cruzi infection is a cause of baboon NLM. We evaluated serial histologic sections of cardiac muscle, blood cultures, immunohistochemistry, serology, polymerase chain reaction, and clinical pathology from 31 baboons with NLM to determine whether T. cruzi infection is associated with NLM. Eleven baboons with no evidence of T. cruzi infection by serology and no NLM were used as controls. Seropositivity for T. cruzi was 45% in baboons with NLM compared with a 2–3% colony prevalence. NLM lesion severity was significantly higher in seropositive than seronegative baboons with NLM. NLM was significantly more common in older baboons. No statistical association between NLM and sex, weight, or clinical pathology was found. These results suggest an association between NLM and T. cruzi infection in the baboon.

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