, Volume 96, Issue 6, pp 382-389
Date: 07 Jun 2005

Influence of the long-term Trypanosoma cruzi infection in vertebrate host on the genetic and biological diversity of the parasite

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The influence of the long-term Trypanosoma cruzi infection in vertebrate host on the biological and genetic properties of the parasite was evaluated. Four T. cruzi isolates obtained from different chronic chagasic dogs infected with Berenice-78 T. cruzi strain during 2 and 7 years were comparatively analyzed. The long-term T. cruzi infection has led to alterations in parasitemia, virulence and pathogenicity of Be-78 strain for mice. These biological parameters varied from low to high in realation to the parental strain. Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA and isoenzyme profiles detected two distinct genetic groups of parasites. The first group included the parental strain and two T. cruzi isolates, and the second group the two other isolates. Interestingly, the isolates of the second group showed a reversibility of the genetic profile to the parental strain after 25 passages in mice. No correlation between the genetic groups and biological properties of the isolates was observed. Our findings confirmed the population heterogeneity of the Be-78 strain, and showed how differently it responds to the long-term infection in the same vertebrate hosts.