Immunohistochemical characterization of infiltrating cells in human chronic chagasic myocarditis: comparison with myocardial rejection process

Virchows Arch A Pathol Anat Histopathol. 1993;423(3):157-60. doi: 10.1007/BF01614765.


Cellular subpopulations that infiltrate the heart in human chronic chagasic myocarditis were defined immunohistochemically in endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) specimens. T cells formed 96.3% of the inflammatory infiltrate, predominantly CD8+ (cytotoxic/suppressor) T cells. The mean numbers of CD8+ and CD4+ (helper) T cells in the myocarditis were compared to those present in the myocardial rejection process. Mean numbers of CD8+ T cells were similar in both groups of EMB specimens while CD4+ T cell counts, CD4+/CD8+ ratios and CD4+ antigen expression were significantly lower in the chagasic group compared to the myocardial rejection group (P < 0.002). The persistent lower number and diminished expression of CD4+ T cells suggest an immunological imbalance in patients with chronic chagasic myocarditis. A possible participation of Trypanosoma cruzi parasites in the development of such immunological abnormalities is also discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Chagas Cardiomyopathy / immunology*
  • Chagas Cardiomyopathy / pathology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Graft Rejection / immunology
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocarditis / immunology*
  • Myocarditis / pathology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory