Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory is more effective than anti-oxidant therapy in counteracting oxidative/nitrosative stress and heart disease in T. cruzi-infected mice

Parasitology. 2017 Jun;144(7):904-916. doi: 10.1017/S0031182016002675. Epub 2017 Jan 30.


We compared the relevance of ibuprofen, vitamins C and E to control oxidative/nitrosative stress and heart disease in mice infected by Trypanosoma cruzi. Swiss mice were randomized into five groups: control, uninfected; infected without treatment; and infected treated with vitamins C, E or ibuprofen. Animals were inoculated with 2000 trypomastigote forms of T. cruzi. After 20 days, infected mice presented reduced vitamin C and E tissue levels, high cytokines (interferon gamma, tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin 10 and chemokine ligand 2), prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α ) and nitric oxide (NO) cardiac production, intense myocarditis and reactive tissue damage, which was directly correlated with the intensity of the inflammatory infiltrate and the degree of pathological cardiac remodelling. Vitamins C and E supplementation were irrelevant to counteract reactive tissue damage and myocarditis in infected animals. Conversely, ibuprofen reduced tissue levels of cytokines, PGF2α and NO, as well as lipid and protein oxidation, antioxidant enzyme activity and the cardiac damage, without interfering with heart parasitism. Our results do not support the applicability of vitamin C and E supplementation in the management of acute Chagas cardiomyopathy. By controlling the inflammatory infiltrate, anti-inflammatory-based therapy proved to be a more rational strategy than a direct antioxidant therapy in attenuating oxidative/nitrosative stress and cardiac damage.

Keywords: Chagas disease; cardiovascular pathology; experimental therapeutics; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Chagas Disease / drug therapy*
  • Chagas Disease / immunology
  • Chagas Disease / parasitology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Nitrosative Stress
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / drug effects


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antioxidants