Aspirin treatment of mice infected with Trypanosoma cruzi and implications for the pathogenesis of Chagas disease.

Division of Parasitology, Department of Pathology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City, New York, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.73). 01/2011; 6(2):e16959. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016959
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Chagas disease, caused by infection with Trypanosoma cruzi, is an important cause of cardiovascular disease. It is increasingly clear that parasite-derived prostaglandins potently modulate host response and disease progression. Here, we report that treatment of experimental T. cruzi infection (Brazil strain) beginning 5 days post infection (dpi) with aspirin (ASA) increased mortality (2-fold) and parasitemia (12-fold). However, there were no differences regarding histopathology or cardiac structure or function. Delayed treatment with ASA (20 mg/kg) beginning 60 dpi did not increase parasitemia or mortality but improved ejection fraction. ASA treatment diminished the profile of parasite- and host-derived circulating prostaglandins in infected mice. To distinguish the effects of ASA on the parasite and host bio-synthetic pathways we infected cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) null mice with the Brazil-strain of T. cruzi. Infected COX-1 null mice displayed a reduction in circulating levels of thromboxane (TX)A(2) and prostaglandin (PG)F(2α). Parasitemia was increased in COX-1 null mice compared with parasitemia and mortality in ASA-treated infected mice indicating the effects of ASA on mortality potentially had little to do with inhibition of prostaglandin metabolism. Expression of SOCS-2 was enhanced, and TRAF6 and TNFα reduced, in the spleens of infected ASA-treated mice. Ablation of the initial innate response to infection may cause the increased mortality in ASA-treated mice as the host likely succumbs more quickly without the initiation of the "cytokine storm" during acute infection. We conclude that ASA, through both COX inhibition and other "off-target" effects, modulates the progression of acute and chronic Chagas disease. Thus, eicosanoids present during acute infection may act as immunomodulators aiding the transition to and maintenance of the chronic phase of the disease. A deeper understanding of the mechanism of ASA action may provide clues to the differences between host response in the acute and chronic T. cruzi infection.

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    ABSTRACT: Cardiomyopathy is a serious complication of Chagas' disease, caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. The parasite often infects cardiac myocytes, causing the release of inflammatory mediators including eicosanoids. A recent study from our laboratory demonstrated that calcium-independent, phospholipase A(2)γ(iPLA(2)γ) accounts for the majority of PLA(2) activity in rabbit ventricular myocytes and is responsible for arachidonic acid (AA) and prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) release. Thus, we hypothesized that cardiac iPLA(2)γ contributes to eicosanoid production in T. cruzi infection. Inhibition of the isoforms, iPLA(2)γ or iPLA(2)β, with the R or S enantiomers of bromoenol lactone (BEL) respectively, demonstrated that iPLA(2)γ is the predominant isoform in immortalized mouse cardiac myocytes (HL-1 cells). Stimulation of HL-1 cells with thrombin, a serine protease associated with microthrombi formation in Chagas' disease and a known activator of iPLA(2), increased AA and PGE(2) release accompanied by platelet-activating factor (PAF) production. Similarly, T. cruzi infection resulted in increased AA and PGE(2) release over time that was inhibited by pretreatment with (R)-BEL. Further T. cruzi infected iPLA(2)γ-KO mice had poorer survival rates and increased tissue parasitism as compared to WT mice, suggesting that iPLA(2)γ-KO mice were more susceptible to infection than WT mice. A significant increase in iPLA(2) activity was observed in WT mice following infection, whereas iPLA(2)γ-KO mice showed no alteration in cardiac iPLA(2) activity and produced less PGE(2). In summary, these studies demonstrate that T. cruzi infection activates cardiac myocyte iPLA(2)γ, resulting in increased AA and PGE(2) release, mediators that may be essential for host survival during acute infection. Thus, these studies suggest that iPLA(2)γ plays a cardioprotective role during the acute stage of Chagas' disease.
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    ABSTRACT: Chagas' disease, produced by Trypanosoma cruzi, affects more than 8 million people, producing approximately 10,000 deaths each year in Latin America. Migration of people from endemic regions to developed countries has expanded the risk of infection, transforming this disease into a globally emerging problem. PGE2 and other eicosanoids contribute to cardiac functional deficits after infection with T. cruzi. Thus, the inhibition of host cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme emerges as a potential therapeutic target. In vivo studies about the effect of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) upon T. cruzi infection are controversial, and always report the effect of ASA at a single dose. Therefore, we aimed to analyze the effect of ASA at different doses in an in vivo model of infection and correlate it with the production of arachidonic acid metabolites. ASA decreased mortality, parasitemia, and heart damage in T. cruzi (Dm28c) infected mice, at the low doses of 25 and 50 mg/Kg. However, this effect disappeared when the high ASA doses of 75 and 100 mg/Kg were used. We explored whether this observation was related to the metabolic shift toward the production of 5-lipoxygenase derivatives, and although we did not observe an increase in LTB4 production in infected RAW cells and mice infected, we did find an increase in 15-epi-LXA4 (an ASA-triggered lipoxin). We also found high levels of 15-epi-LXA4 in T. cruzi infected mice treated with the low doses of ASA, while the high ASA doses decreased 15-epi-LXA4 levels. Importantly, 15-epi-LXA4 prevented parasitemia, mortality, and cardiac changes in vivo and restored the protective role in the treatment with a high dose of ASA. This is the first report showing the production of ASA-triggered lipoxins in T. cruzi infected mice, which demonstrates the role of this lipid as an anti-inflammatory molecule in the acute phase of the disease.
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic Chagas' disease affects 10-30 % of patients infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, and it mainly manifests as cardiomyopathy. Important pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the cardiac lesions include activation of the endothelium and induced microvascular alterations. These processes involve the production of endothelial adhesion molecules and thromboxane A2, which are involved in inflammatory cell recruitment and platelet aggregation, respectively. Cyclooxygenase inhibitors such as aspirin decrease thromboxane production and alter the course of Chagas' disease, both in the acute and chronic phases. We studied the effects of the administration of low and high doses of aspirin during the early phase of T. cruzi infection, following microvascular damage in the context of a chronic murine model of Chagas' disease. The effects of both schedules were assessed at 24 and 90 days postinfection by evaluating parasitemia, mortality, and cardiac histopathological changes as well as the expression of ICAM, VCAM, and E-selectin in cardiac tissue. Thromboxane A2, soluble ICAM, and E-selectin blood levels were also measured. While aspirin did not affect parasitemia or mortality in the infected mice, it decreased both cardiac inflammatory infiltrates and thromboxane levels. Additionally, at 90 days postinfection, aspirin normalized sICAM and sE-selectin levels. Considering the improved endothelial function induced by aspirin, we propose the possibility of including this drug in clinical therapy to treat chronic Chagas' disease.
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