Chagas disease is not associated with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and beta cell dysfunction at baseline of Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil)

Parasitol Int. 2021 Dec:85:102440. doi: 10.1016/j.parint.2021.102440. Epub 2021 Aug 17.


Chagas disease (ChD) affects millions of people worldwide, being endemic in Latin America and emerging in the United States and Europe. Classically described as targeting the heart and gastrointestinal tract, Trypanosoma cruzi parasitism leads to structural and pro-inflammatory changes in the adipose tissue and pancreas. The effects of these changes on insulin resistance (IR), beta cell dysfunction, diabetes mellitus (DM),and metabolic syndrome (MS) are unclear. We aim to evaluate the association of ChD with DM, IR, beta cell dysfunction and MS in the baseline of multi-centric cohort study 'Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health' (ELSA-Brasil). This cross-sectional analysis included 14,922 (98%) participants of ELSA-Brasil at baseline. To investigate the associations of ChD with DM, IR (assessed by HOMA-IR) and beta cell dysfunction (assessed by HOMA beta), and MS we fitted logistic regression models including socio-demographic and anthropometric variables, health-related conditions and laboratory results. ChD, defined by positive serology, was prevalent in 1.9% (n = 283) of the sample, 17.3% (n = 49) of whom had cardiomyopathy. DM prevalence was 17.25% (n = 2574) and was not different among those with and without ChD (20.5% vs 17.2%; p = 0.28). Fasting and 2 h-blood glucose after a 75 g anhydrous glucose were slightly higher among participants positive for ChD, when compared with those with negative serology (102 mg/dL versus 100 mg/dL, respectively; and 127 mg/dL versus 124 mg/dL, respectively), only in univariate analysis. There was no significant association between these variables and ChD after adjustments. In addition, there was no significant association between DM, IR, beta cell dysfunction or MS and ChD (without and with cardiomyopathy). Our results showed that ChD, regardless of the presence of cardiomyopathy, is not associated with DM, IR, beta cell dysfunction or MS. These findings suggest the parasitism of the adipose tissue and pancreas in Chagas disease do not translate into clinically relevant glucose abnormalities.

Keywords: Chagas cardiomiopathy; Chagas disease; Diabetes mellitus; Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Chagas Disease / complications
  • Chagas Disease / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence