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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2009 Aug;12(4):415-21. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2009.06.011. Epub 2009 Jul 17.

Fighting the oxidative assault: the Trypanosoma cruzi journey to infection.

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  • 1Departamento de Bioquímica, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la República, Montevideo-Uruguay, Uruguay.


Activation of professional phagocytes with the concomitant generation of oxidant species is a medullar innate immune process for the control of acute Trypanosoma cruzi infection. Recent data reinforce the hypothesis that parasites more prepared to deal with the host-oxidative assault are more efficient for the establishment of Chagas disease. For instance, parasites overexpressing peroxiredoxins are more resistant to macrophage-derived peroxynitrite, a key cytotoxic oxidant produced in the phagosome towards the internalized parasite. Differentiation to the infective metacyclic trypomastigote is accompanied by an increased expression of antioxidant enzymes. Moreover, augmented antioxidant enzyme expression and activities correlate with higher parasite virulence in experimental infections. The potency of the parasite antioxidant armamentarium influences the final fate of the Trypanosoma cruzi journey to macrophage invasion at the onset of infection.

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