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Clin Exp Immunol. 1997 Feb;107(2):328-34.

Different Trypanosoma cruzi strains promote neuromyopathic damage mediated by distinct T lymphocyte subsets.

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Departamento de MicrobiologĂ­a, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The proliferative response of CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes obtained from C3H/HeN mice chronically infected with Trypanosoma cruzi strains that differ in virulence, tropism and immunogenicity, was assayed against skeletal muscle, sciatic nerve and spinal cord homogenates. Although both CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes from mice infected with the RA strain strongly proliferated against the nervous system, no response against skeletal muscle antigens was detected. CD4 and CD8 T lymphocytes from mice infected with the K-98 clone (from CA-I strain) showed low proliferative response against all the antigens assayed. To determine whether the proliferation patterns showed correlation with T cell-mediated neuromuscular damage, passive cell transfer studies were performed. Fifteen days after transfer of CD4 T cells from RA-infected donors (CD4-RA), normal syngeneic recipients displayed exclusively nervous tissue damage, such as perineural, endoneural and/or meningeal inflammatory infiltrates, with predominance of CD4 T cells. Fifteen days after transfer of CD4 T lymphocytes from mice infected with K-98 (CD4-K98), recipients showed inflammatory infiltrates only in skeletal muscle, where CD4 T lymphocytes and macrophages were predominant cells. Recipients of CD8 T cells from RA-infected mice (CD8-RA) showed lesions in both spinal cord and sciatic nerves. Higher percentages of CD8 T cells were observed in comparison with the recipients of CD4-RA or CD4-K98. In contrast, CD8 T cells from K-98-infected donors (CD8-K98) did not induce tissue damage. These results provide evidence that mice infected with T. cruzi populations that differ in their biological characteristics show diverse immune mechanisms that may be involved in the pathogenesis of peripheral nervous system damage.

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