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Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl. 2016 May 11;5(2):198-206. doi: 10.1016/j.ijppaw.2016.05.001. eCollection 2016 Aug.

Molecular characterization of trypanosomatid infections in wild howler monkeys (Alouatta caraya) in northeastern Argentina.

Author information

1
Instituto Nacional de Medicina Tropical, Ministerio de Salud de la Nación, Neuquén y Jujuy s/n, 3370, Puerto Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina; Estación Biológica Corrientes (EBCo), Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales (MACN-CONICET), San Cayetano, Corrientes, Argentina.
2
Estación Biológica Corrientes (EBCo), Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales (MACN-CONICET), San Cayetano, Corrientes, Argentina.
3
Instituto Nacional de Medicina Tropical, Ministerio de Salud de la Nación, Neuquén y Jujuy s/n, 3370, Puerto Iguazú, Misiones, Argentina; Centro Nacional de Diagnóstico e Investigación de Endemo-epidemias (CeNDIE-ANLIS Malbrán), Av. Paseo Colón 568, 1063, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.
4
Laboratorio de Biología Molecular de la Enfermedad de Chagas, Instituto de Ingeniería Genética y Biología Molecular (INGEBI-CONICET), Vuelta de Obligado 2490, 2do piso, 1428, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Abstract

The transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi by vectors is confined to the Americas, and the infection circulates in at least two broadly defined transmission cycles occurring in domestic and sylvatic habitats. This study sought to detect and characterize infection by T. cruzi and other trypanosomes using PCR strategies in blood samples from free-ranging howler monkeys, Alouatta caraya, in the northeastern Argentina. Blood samples were collected at four sites with variable levels of habitat modification by human activity. PCR was conducted using primers for kinetoplast DNA, satellite DNA and ribosomal DNA of the trypanosomatid parasites. Ribosomal and satellite DNA fragments were sequenced to identify the trypanosomatid species and to characterize the discrete typing units (DTUs) of T. cruzi. Overall, 46% (50/109) of the howlers were positive according to the kDNA-PCR assay, but only 7 of the howlers were positive according to the SatDNA-PCR protocol. We sequenced the amplicons of the satellite DNA obtained from five specimens, and the sequences were 99% and 100% similar to T. cruzi. A sequence typical of DTU T. cruzi I was found in one howler monkey from the "remote" site, while sequences compatible with DTUs II, V, and VI were found in howlers from the "remote", "rural" and "village" sites. We detected 96% positive samples for RibDNA-PCR, 9 of which were sequenced and displayed 99% identity with Trypanosoma minasense, while none showed identity with T. cruzi. The results demonstrated the presence of T. cruzi and a species closely related to T. minasense in blood samples from free-ranging A. caraya, belonging to different T. cruzi DTUs circulating in these howler monkey populations. The results obtained in this study could help evaluate the role of A. caraya as a reservoir of T. cruzi in regions where Chagas disease is hyper-endemic and where the human-wildlife interface is increasing.

KEYWORDS:

Alouatta caraya; Enzootic cycle; Howler monkey; TcI–TcVI DTUs; Trypanosoma cruzi; Trypanosoma minasense

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