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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2010 Sep;105(6):746-51.

The benefits of using selenium in the treatment of Chagas disease: prevention of right ventricle chamber dilatation and reversion of Trypanosoma cruzi-induced acute and chronic cardiomyopathy in mice.

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Laboratório de Inovações em Terapias, Ensino e Bioprodutos, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz, Av. Brasil 4365, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil.


Cardiac damage is a frequent manifestation of Chagas disease, which is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient, the deficiency of which has been implicated in the development of cardiomyopathy. Our group has previously demonstrated that Se supplementation prevents myocardial damage during acute T. cruzi infection in mice. In this study, we analyzed the effect of Se treatment in cases of T. cruzi infection using prevention and reversion schemes. In the Se prevention scheme, mice were given Se supplements (2 ppm) starting two weeks prior to inoculation with T. cruzi(Brazil strain) and continuing until 120 days post-infection (dpi). In the Se reversion scheme, mice were treated with Se (4 ppm) for 100 days, starting at 160 dpi. Dilatation of the right ventricle was observed in the infected control group at both phases of T. cruzi infection, but it was not observed in the infected group that received Se treatment. Surviving infected mice that were submitted to the Se reversion scheme presented normal P wave values and reduced inflammation of the pericardium. These data indicate that Se treatment prevents right ventricular chamber increase and thus can be proposed as an adjuvant therapy for cardiac alterations already established by T. cruzi infection.

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