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PORTELLA, Renata Siqueira and ANDRADE, Sonia G. Trypanosoma cruzi: parasite antigens sequestered in heart interstitial dendritic cells are related to persisting myocarditis in benznidazole-treated mice. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz [online]. 2009, vol.104, n.7, pp. 1023-1030. ISSN 0074-0276. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0074-02762009000700015.
We investigated whether sequestered Trypanosoma cruzi antigens found in heart interstitial dendritic cells (IDCs) contribute to the residual myocarditis found in mice following treatment with benznidazole, a specific chemotherapeutic drug. IDCs are antigen-presenting cells that are MHC-II-receptor dependent. Swiss mice were divided into two experimental groups: the 1st group was infected with the Colombian strain of T. cruzi, which is resistant to treatment with benznidazole, and the 2nd group was infected with clone 21SF-C 3, which has a medium susceptibility to the drug. Treatment of the Colombian strain group started on the 120th day post-infection and for the 21SF-C3 strain group treatment was started on the 90th day. In both groups, treatment lasted for 90 days. The animals were sacrificed either 150 or 200 days post-treatment. The myocardium was analysed by immunohistochemistry using anti-MAC3, 33D1, CD11b and CD11c monoclonal antibodies for IDCs or anti-T. cruzi purified antibodies. Parasite antigens were expressed on the IDC membranes in both treated and untreated mice. Myocarditis subsided following treatment, evidenced by both histological and morphometrical evaluation. A reduction in the number of IDCs carrying T. cruzi antigens in the treated group indicates that the elimination of parasites influences antigen presentation with concomitant decreases in inflammation. There is a correlation between the presence of T. cruzi antigens in these cells and the chronic focal, residual myocarditis seen in treated mice.
Keywords : Trypanosoma cruzi; chronic myocarditis; heart interstitial dendritic cells; chemotherapy; benznidazole.