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Autoimmunity in Chagas' heart disease



Autoimmunity in Chagas' heart disease



Sao Paulo Medical Journal 113(2): 757-766



The time scale dissociation between high parasitemia and tissue pathology, allied to the absence of parasites in the heart lesions of chronic Chagas' disease cardiopathy, casted doubt on the direct participation of Trypanosoma cruzi in tissue lesions. Moreover, the heart tissue lesions in chronic Chagas' disease cardiopathy are associated to an inflammatory mononuclear cell infiltrate, presumably the ultimate effectors of tissue damage. It has been hypothesized that the inflammatory cell infiltrate could mediate a delayed hypersensitivity process directed to the heart tissue components, an autoimmune response triggered by immunological cross-reactivity in the course of a protective immune response against some T. cruzi antigen homologous to heart proteins. However, little is known about the effector role of the T cells in the infiltrate, or about the nature of the antigen that lead to their accumulation in tissue. In this paper, we will review the published evidence on autoimmunity and immunological cross-reactivity between T. cruzi and the mammalian host, along with data generated in our laboratory. The definition of the precise role played by autoimmunity in the pathogenesis of Chagas' disease cardiopathy may have important consequences both for immunoprophylaxis and for the therapeutic approach of chronic Chagas' disease.

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Accession: 045336158

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PMID: 8650474


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