Susceptibility and natural resistance of Trypanosoma cruzi strains to drugs used clinically in Chagas disease

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1987;81(5):755-9. doi: 10.1016/0035-9203(87)90020-4.


The susceptibility and natural resistance to two nitroheterocyclic derivatives used clinically in Chagas disease (nifurtimox and benznidazole) were investigated in 47 Trypanosoma cruzi strains isolated from human patients, domestic vectors and sylvatic reservoirs or vectors. A large gradient of drug efficacy from 0% to 100% was detected. Drug susceptibility apparently related to geographical distribution of some T. cruzi strains was also observed. Drug resistance was identified among T. cruzi populations isolated from sylvatic vectors from an area where autochthonous human Chagas disease does not exist. Thus, natural drug-resistance of sylvatic strains might be a way of introducing this character into a T. cruzi domestic cycle. Most of the 47 studied strains were either sensitive or resistant to both compounds, an intriguing finding considering that nifurtimox and benznidazole apparently have different mechanisms of action against T. cruzi.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chagas Disease / drug therapy
  • Drug Resistance
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Nifurtimox / therapeutic use*
  • Nitrofurans / therapeutic use*
  • Nitroimidazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Trypanocidal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / drug effects*


  • Nitrofurans
  • Nitroimidazoles
  • Trypanocidal Agents
  • Nifurtimox
  • benzonidazole