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Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 2013 Apr;108(2):243-5.

Cardiomyocyte dysfunction during the chronic phase of Chagas disease.

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Laboratório de Membranas Excitáveis e Biologia Cardiovascular, Departamento de Bioquímica e Imunologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil.


Chagas disease, which is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, is an important cause of heart failure. We investigated modifications in the cellular electrophysiological and calcium-handling characteristics of an infected mouse heart during the chronic phase of the disease. The patch-clamp technique was used to record action potentials (APs) and L-type Ca2+ and transient outward K+ currents. [Ca2+]i changes were determined using confocal microscopy. Infected ventricular cells showed prolonged APs, reduced transient outward K+ and L-type Ca2+ currents and reduced Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Thus, the chronic phase of Chagas disease is characterised by cardiomyocyte dysfunction, which could lead to heart failure.

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