Systemic and placental productions of tumor necrosis factor contribute to induce fetal mortality in mice acutely infected with Trypanosoma cruzi

Exp Parasitol. May-Jun 2004;107(1-2):58-64. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2004.03.016.


Blood levels and placental productions of IFN-gamma and TNF, known to be harmful for pregnancy, were determined in pregnant mice acutely infected with Trypanosoma cruzi and suffering massive fetal losses without congenital infection. INF-gamma was detected mainly at day 9 and TNF at days 17 and 19 of pregnancy in plasma of infected mice. TNF levels were significantly correlated to the percentages of dead fetuses. Placental cells produced TNF but not IFN-gamma, and addition of T. cruzi lysate to such cells strongly stimulated TNF production. Treatment of infected mice with pentoxifylline, known to decrease IFN-gamma production and to inhibit the TNF-alpha gene transcription, reduced the placental production of TNF, and the fetal mortality in comparison to control animals. Altogether these result suggest that TNF produced at systemic and placental levels plays a role in the fetal mortality induced in mice acutely infected with T. cruzi.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Chagas Disease / drug therapy
  • Chagas Disease / immunology*
  • Chagas Disease / mortality
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / immunology*
  • Fetal Death / parasitology
  • Interferon-gamma / analysis
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Interferon-gamma / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Pentoxifylline / pharmacology
  • Pentoxifylline / therapeutic use
  • Placenta / immunology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic / immunology*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / analysis
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / biosynthesis
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / drug effects
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / immunology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / drug effects


  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Pentoxifylline