CirculatingTrypanosoma cruzi from the same cloned population show differences in the ability to infect cells and to cause lethal infection in mice
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Two subpopulations of circulating parasites displaying different abilities to infect mammalian cells and to cause lethal infection when inoculated into normal mice were demonstrated in the blood of mice acutely infected withT. cruzi. Parasites of one subpopulation rapidly penetrated mouse fibroblasts and were readily phagocytized by normal mouse peritoneal macrophages whereas parasites of the other subpopulation showed little ability to invade non-phagocytic cells and resisted phagocytosis. Inoculation of organisms of this latter population into mice resulted in infections with lower parasitemias and longer time to death as compared to controls inoculated with organisms from a population containing both types of parasites. When a population of parasites containing both types of trypanosomes was cultured in acellular medium at 28°C a decrease in the number of parasites was noted to occur in the initial days of culture. This decrease was not noted when parasites of the subpopulation of trypanosomes resistant to phagocytosis were cultured similarly.
Key wordsTrypanosoma cruzi Chagas' disease macrophages mouse fibroblasts
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