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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.86 no.2 Rio de Janeiro Apr./June 1991 

Cell mediated immunity in Chagas' disease: Trypanosoma cruzi antigens induce suppression of the in vitro proliferative response of mononuclear cells

Walter Mosca1 

Luis Briceño1 

Maria Ignacia Hernandez2 

Instituto de Biomedicina, Laboratório de Fisiopatologia, Caracas, Venezuela

Hospital Vargas, Servício de Cardiologia, Caracas, Venezuela


The partial suppression of the cell-mediated immune response by Trypanosoma cruzi antigens in patients with Chagas' disease is demonstrated in a costimulation assay with T. cruzi antigens and Mycobacterium tuberculosis purified protein derivative (PPD) or Tetanus toxoid (TT). ononuclear cells from 13 patients with chagasic infection without evidence of heart disease, 10 patients with chagasic cardiomyopathy and 7 healthy blood donors were stimulated with antigen A (autoclaved epimastigotes), PPD, TT, PPD + A, PPD + TT and TT + A. The average percentage of suppression induced by costimulation of mononuclear cells with PPD and antigen A was 47.1% in patients with chagasic infection without heart disease (INF), 38.8% in patients with chagasic cardiomyopathy (CDM) and 23.3% in healthy controls. Similar values were observed when living trypomastigotes were used. A costimulatory study with PPD and TT, PPD and A and TT and A was carried out in 8 patients with chagasic infection, in order to evaluate the possibility that this difference could be due to a nonspecific inhibitory effect. The mean suppression induced by TT + PPD was -8.9, with TT + A was 52.7 and with PPD + A was 50.1. The data reported show that T. cruzi antigens induce a specific suppression of the proliferative responseof mononuclear cells, that might be relevant to the persistence of the parasite in the host.


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