Innate and acquired immunity in the pathogenesis of Chagas disease

Autoimmunity. 2004 Aug;37(5):399-409. doi: 10.1080/08916930410001713115.


The apparent discrepancy between the intensity of inflammatory reaction and scarce number of parasites in chronic chagasic myocarditis prompt several investigators to hypothesize that an autoimmune process was involved in the pathogenesis of Chagas disease. Here, we recapitulate diverse molecular and cellular mechanisms of innate and acquired immunity involved in the control of parasite replication and in the build up of myocarditis observed during infection with Trypanosoma cruzi. In addition, we review the immunoregulatory mechanisms responsible for preventing excessive immune response elicited by this protozoan parasite. Ongoing studies in this research area may provide novel therapeutic strategies that could enhance the immunoprotective response while preventing the deleterious parasite-elicited responses observed during Chagas disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity / immunology
  • Chagas Cardiomyopathy / immunology
  • Chagas Disease / etiology
  • Chagas Disease / immunology*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / immunology*
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / pathogenicity
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / physiology