Swimming against the current: genetic vaccination against Trypanosoma cruzi infection in mice.

Centro Interdisciplinar de Terapia Gênica, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Escola Paulista de Medicina, São Paulo, SP, Brasil .
Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz (Impact Factor: 1.36). 07/2009; 104 Suppl 1:281-7. DOI: 10.1590/S0074-02762009000900037
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Vaccines have had an unquestionable impact on public health during the last century. The most likely reason for the success of vaccines is the robust protective properties of specific antibodies. However, antibodies exert a strong selective pressure and many microorganisms, such as the obligatory intracellular parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, have been selected to survive in their presence. Although the host develops a strong immune response to T. cruzi, they do not clear the infection and instead progress to the chronic phase of the disease. Parasite persistence during the chronic phase of infection is now considered the main factor contributing to the chronic symptoms of the disease. Based on this finding, containment of parasite growth and survival may be one method to avoid the immunopathology of the chronic phase. In this context, vaccinologists have looked over the past 20 years for other immune effector mechanisms that could eliminate these antibody-resistant pathogens. We and others have tested the hypothesis that non-antibody-mediated cellular immune responses (CD4+ Th1 and CD8+ Tc1 cells) to specific parasite antigens/genes expressed by T. cruzi could indeed be used for the purpose of vaccination. This hypothesis was confirmed in different mouse models, indicating a possible path for vaccine development.

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Mauricio Rodrigues