CD8+ T cells in Trypanosoma cruzi infection

Curr Opin Immunol. 2009 Aug;21(4):385-90. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2009.07.006. Epub 2009 Jul 29.


CD8(+) T cells have emerged as crucial players in the control of a number of protozoan pathogens, including Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of human Chagas disease. The recent identification of the dominant targets of T. cruzi-specific T cells has allowed investigators to follow the generation of and document the functionality of T cell responses in both mice and humans. Although slow to develop in the early stages of the infection, T. cruzi-specific CD8(+) T cells reach prodigious levels and remain highly functional throughout chronic infections in mice. Following drug-induced cure during either the acute or chronic stage, these immunodominant T cells persist as stable, antigen-independent memory populations. T. cruzi-specific CD8(+) T cells in humans are less-well-studied but appear to lose functionality and decline in numbers in these decades-long infections. Changes in the frequency of parasite-specific T cell upon therapeutic treatment in humans may provide a new metric for determining treatment efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Chagas Disease / diagnosis
  • Chagas Disease / immunology*
  • Chagas Disease / pathology
  • Chagas Disease / physiopathology
  • Chagas Disease / therapy
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Immunodominant Epitopes / immunology
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Mice
  • Prognosis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / growth & development
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / immunology*
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / pathogenicity


  • Immunodominant Epitopes