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Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2005;38 Suppl 2:96-100.

[Immune responses of non-infected neonates of mothers infected with Trypanosoma cruzi].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

  • 1Laboratoire de Parasitologie, Faculté de Médecine, Université Libre de Bruxelles (U.L.B.), Bruxelles, Belgique. ctruyens@med.ulb.ac.be


We have investigated if maternal T. cruzi infection could induce in utero innate and/or adaptive immune responses in uninfected neonates by measuring specific IgM and IgA antibodies in cord blood plasma, and by performing phenotypic and functional studies of umbilical cord blood cells of their newborns (M+B- group). We detected T. cruzi-specific IgM and IgA antibodies in M+B- cord blood, indicating they had mounted in utero a strong B cell response, although they are not infected. On the other hand, circulating T cells of such uninfected neonates displayed a low level of activation, as seen bya slightly increased expression of the activation markers CD45RO on CD4+ T cells and HLA-DR on CD8+ T cells, although the proportion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells was unmodified as compared to newborns from uninfected mothers (MB- group). This activation did not give rise to a proliferative response upon stimulation by T. cruzi antigens in vitro. However, M+B- cells produced low levels of lymphokines (IFN-gamma and IL-13) upon mitogenic stimulation, which was not the case of M-B- newborn cells. Beside this, M+B- blood cells produced higher levels of inflammatory cytokines (IL-1b, IL-6, TNF-alpha) than M-B- cells when stimulated with the T. cruzi lysate or LPS, suggesting the over-activation of the innate response in M+B- newborns. Monocytes participated in such inflammatory response since M+B- purified cord blood monocytes produced higher levels of TNF- when incubated with LPS or a T. cruzi lysate than M-B- cells. Altogether, these results show that, even in the absence of congenital infection, maternal T. cruzi infection triggers in utero both adaptive and innate immune responses in their babies. This indicates that parasite circulating antigens have been transferred from mothers to their fetuses.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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