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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 1986 Jan-Mar;81(1):29-41.

Chronic murine myocarditis due to Trypanosoma cruzi--an ultrastructural study and immunochemical characterization of cardiac interstitial matrix.


In an attempt to define the mouse-model for chronic Chagas' disease, a serological, histopathological and ultrastructural study as well as immunotyping of myocardium collagenic matrix were performed on Swiss mice, chronically infected with Trypanosoma cruzi strains: 21 SF and Mambaí (Type II); PMN and Bolivia (Type III), spontaneously surviving after 154 to 468 days of infection. Haemagglutination and indirect immunofluorescence tests showed high titres of specific antibodies. The ultrastructural study disclosed the cellular constitution of the inflammatory infiltrate showing the predominance of monocytes, macrophages with intense phagocytic activity, fibroblasts, myofibroblasts and abundant collagen matrix suggesting the association of the inflammatory process with fibrogenesis in chronic chagasic cardiomyopathy. Arteriolar and blood capillary alterations together with dissociation of cardiac cells from the capillary wall by edema and inflammation were related to ultrastructural lesions of myocardial cells. Rupture of parasitized cardiac myocells contribute to intensify the inflammatory process in focal areas. Collagen immunotyping showed the predominance of Types III and IV collagen. Collagen degradation and phagocytosis were present suggesting a reversibility of the fibrous process. The mouse model seems to be valuable in the study of the pathogenetic mechanisms in Chagas cardiomyopathy, providing that T. cruzi strains of low virulence and high pathogenicity are used.

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