Chagas' Disease: Lymphoma Growth in Rabbits Treated with Benznidazole

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  • University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil
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Administration of the trypanocidal drug, Benznidazole (N-benzyl-2-nitroimidazoleacetamide) to Trypanosoma cruzi-infected rabbits did not arrest the destructive Chagas' heart myocarditis. A typical feature of lymphocytic infiltrates associated with non-parasitized heart cell lysis was present in both treated and untreated groups of rabbits. Benznidazole-treated rabbits had their survival time shortened, probably as a consequence of Chagas' heart disease and of the development of lymphomas. The survival time of untreated T. cruzi-infected rabbits was 765 ± 639 days and those treated with Benznidazole in the chronic phase of infection survived for 392 ± 571 days. Malignant, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas were present in 38% of the rabbits that received the nitroarene therapy. Testicular atrophy was observed in 2 out of 10 nitroarene-treated rabbits. Benznidazole administration caused severe cell-mediated immunosuppression in T. cruzi-infected and BCG-immunized rabbits. Specific antibodies against the parasite and an unrelated antigen were detected in high levels, regardless of the nitroarene administration.