Trypanosoma cruzi vaccine candidate antigens Tc24 and TSA-1 recall memory immune response associated with HLA-A and -B supertypes in Chagasic chronic patients from Mexico

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2018 Jan 29;12(1):e0006240. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0006240. eCollection 2018 Jan.


Trypanosoma cruzi antigens TSA-1 and Tc24 have shown promise as vaccine candidates in animal studies. We evaluated here the recall immune response these antigens induce in Chagasic patients, as a first step to test their immunogenicity in humans. We evaluated the in vitro cellular immune response after stimulation with recombinant TSA-1 (rTSA-1) or recombinant Tc24 (rTc24) in mononuclear cells of asymptomatic Chagasic chronic patients (n = 20) compared to healthy volunteers (n = 19) from Yucatan, Mexico. Proliferation assays, intracellular cytokine staining, cytometric bead arrays, and memory T cell immunophenotyping were performed by flow cytometry. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from Chagasic patients showed significant proliferation after stimulation with rTc24 and presented a phenotype of T effector memory cells (CD45RA-CCR7-). These cells also produced IFN-γ and, to a lesser extent IL10, after stimulation with rTSA-1 and rTc24 proteins. Overall, both antigens recalled a broad immune response in some Chagasic patients, confirming that their immune system had been primed against these antigens during natural infection. Analysis of HLA-A and HLA-B allele diversity by PCR-sequencing indicated that HLA-A03 and HLA-B07 were the most frequent supertypes in this Mexican population. Also, there was a significant difference in the frequency of HLA-A01 and HLA-A02 supertypes between Chagasic patients and controls, while the other alleles were evenly distributed. Some aspects of the immune response, such as antigen-induced IFN-γ production by CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and CD8+ proliferation, showed significant association with specific HLA-A supertypes, depending on the antigen considered. In conclusion, our results confirm the ability of both TSA-1 and Tc24 recombinant proteins to recall an immune response induced by the native antigens during natural infection in at least some patients. Our data support the further development of these antigens as therapeutic vaccine against Chagas disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, Protozoan / immunology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chagas Disease / immunology*
  • Cytokines / analysis
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • HLA-A Antigens / genetics*
  • HLA-B Antigens / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular*
  • Immunologic Memory*
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Male
  • Mexico
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / immunology*


  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • Cytokines
  • HLA-A Antigens
  • HLA-B Antigens

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología ( grant #CB-2010-01-156513 (ED) and scholarship #319117 (LEVL) and by the Carlos Slim Foundation ( grant #187714 (ED, MEB, PH). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.