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Int J Parasitol. 2010 Nov;40(13):1531-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2010.05.012. Epub 2010 Jul 14.

Induction of NADPH oxidase activity and reactive oxygen species production by a single Trypanosoma cruzi antigen.

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CIBICI-CONICET, Departamento de Bioquímica Clínica, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina.


Trypanosoma cruzi is an intracellular protozoan parasite that predominantly invades mononuclear phagocytes and is able to establish a persistent infection. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by phagocytes is an innate defence mechanism against microorganisms. It has been postulated that ROS such as superoxide anion (O(2)), hydrogen peroxide and peroxynitrite, may play a crucial role in the control of pathogen growth. However, information on parasite molecules able to trigger ROS production is scarce. In this work, we investigated whether cruzipain, an immunogenic glycoprotein from T. cruzi, was able to trigger the oxidative burst by murine cells. By employing chemiluminiscense and flow-cytometric analysis, we demonstrated that cruzipain induced ROS production in splenocytes from non-immune and cruzipain immune C57BL/6 mice and in a Raw 264.7 macrophage cell line. We also identified an O(2)(-) molecule as one of the ROS produced after antigen stimulation. Cruzipain stimulation induced NOX2 (gp91(phox)) and p47(phox) expression, as well as the co-localisation of both NADPH oxidase enzyme subunits. In the current study, we provide evidence that cruzipain not only increased ROS production but also promoted IL-6 and IL-1β cytokine production. Taken together, we believe these results demonstrate for the first time that cruzipain, a single parasite molecule, in the absence of infection, favors oxidative burst in murine cells. This represents an important advance in the knowledge of parasite molecules that interact with the phagocyte defence mechanism.

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