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Correlation between Presence of Trypanosoma cruzi DNA in Heart Tissue of Baboons and Cynomolgus Monkeys, and Lymphocytic Myocarditis

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  • Southwest National Primate Research Center, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, San Antonio, Texas; Department of Biology, St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas

Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas' disease, preferentially infects cardiac and digestive tissues. Baboons living in Texas (Papio hamadryas) and cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) have been reported to be infected naturally with T. cruzi. In this study, we retrospectively reviewed cases of animals that were diagnosed with lymphocytic myocarditis and used a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method (S36/S35 primer set) to amplify T. cruzi DNA from archived frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) cardiac tissues. We show that the PCR method is applicable in archived frozen and FFPE tissues and the sensitivity is in the femtogram range. A positive correlation between PCR positivity and lymphocytic myocarditis in both baboons and cynomolgus monkeys is shown. We also show epicarditis as a common finding in animals infected with T. cruzi.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to James N. Mubiru, Southwest National Primate Research Center, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, P.O. Box 760549, San Antonio, TX 78245-0549. E-mail: jmubiru@txbiomed.org

Financial support: This research was funded in part by National Institutes of Health grant P51 OD013986, which supports the Southwest National Primate Research Center. Dr. Mubiru was supported by the National Institutes of Health under award K01 OD010973. Nonhuman primates were housed in facilities constructed with support from Research Facilities Improvement Programs grants C06 RR015456 and C06 RR014578 from the National Institutes of Health.

Authors' addresses: James N. Mubiru, Edward J. Dick Jr., Michael Owston, R. Mark Sharp, Jane F. VandeBerg, Robert E. Shade, and John L. VandeBerg, Southwest National Primate Center, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, San Antonio, TX, E-mails: jmubiru@txbiomed.org, edick@txbiomed.org, mowston@txbiomed.org, msharp@txbiomed.org, janev@txbiomedgenetics.org, bshade@txbiomed.org, and jlv@txbiomedgenetics.org. Alice Yang, Department of Biology, St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX, E-mail: ayang@mail.stmarytx.edu.

Reprint requests: James N. Mubiru, Southwest National Primate Center, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, P.O. Box 760549, San Antonio, TX 78245-0549, E-mail: jmubiru@txbiomed.org.

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