[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we have utilized wild-type (WT), ASC-/-, and NLRP3-/- macrophages and inhibition approaches to investigate the mechanisms of inflammasome activation and their role in Trypanosoma cruzi infection. We also probed human macrophages and analyzed published microarray datasets from human fibroblasts, and endothelial and smooth muscle cells for T. cruzi-induced changes in the expression genes included in the RT Profiler Human Inflammasome arrays. T. cruzi infection elicited a subdued and delayed activation of inflammasome-related gene expression and IL-1β production in mφs in comparison to LPS-treated controls. When WT and ASC-/- macrophages were treated with inhibitors of caspase-1, IL-1β, or NADPH oxidase, we found that IL-1β production by caspase-1/ASC inflammasome required reactive oxygen species (ROS) as a secondary signal. Moreover, IL-1β regulated NF-κB signaling of inflammatory cytokine gene expression and, subsequently, intracellular parasite replication in macrophages. NLRP3-/- macrophages, despite an inability to elicit IL-1β activation and inflammatory cytokine gene expression, exhibited a 4-fold decline in intracellular parasites in comparison to that noted in matched WT controls. NLRP3-/- macrophages were not refractory to T. cruzi, and instead exhibited a very high basal level of ROS (>100-fold higher than WT controls) that was maintained after infection in an IL-1β-independent manner and contributed to efficient parasite killing. We conclude that caspase-1/ASC inflammasomes play a significant role in the activation of IL-1β/ROS and NF-κB signaling of cytokine gene expression for T. cruzi control in human and mouse macrophages. However, NLRP3-mediated IL-1β/NFκB activation is dispensable and compensated for by ROS-mediated control of T. cruzi replication and survival in macrophages.
PLoS ONE 11/2014; 9(11):e111539. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chagas disease is endemic in Latin America and an emerging infectious disease in the US. No effective treatments are available. TcG1, TcG2 and TcG4 antigens are highly conserved in clinically-relevant Trypanosoma cruzi (Tc) isolates, and recognized by B and T cells in infected host. Delivery of these antigens as a DNA-prime/protein-boost vaccine (TcVac2) elicited lytic antibodies and type 1 CD8(+)T cells that expanded upon challenge infection, and provided >90% control of parasite burden and myocarditis in chagasic mice. Herein, we determined if peripheral blood can be utilized to capture the TcVac2-induced protection from Chagas disease. We evaluated the sera levels of TckDNA/Tc18SrDNA and murine mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) as indicators of parasite persistence and tissue damage; and monitored the effect of sera on macrophage phenotype. Circulating TckDNA/Tc18SrDNA and mtDNA were decreased by >3-5-fold and 2-fold, respectively, in vaccinated/infected mice as compared to non-vaccinated/infected mice. Macrophages incubated with sera from vaccinated/infected mice exhibited M2 surface markers (CD16, CD32, CD200 and CD206), moderate proliferation, low oxidative/nitrosative burst, and regulatory/anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-4+IL-10>TNF-α) response. In comparison, macrophages incubated with sera from non-vaccinated/infected mice exhibited M1 surface markers, vigorous proliferation, substantial oxidative/nitrosative burst, and proinflammatory cytokine (TNF-α≫IL-4+IL-10) response. Cardiac infiltration of macrophages and TNF-α and oxidant levels were significantly reduced in TcVac2-immunized chagasic mice. We conclude that circulating TcDNA and mtDNA levels and macrophage phenotype mediated by sera constituents reflects in vivo levels of parasite persistence, tissue damage and inflammatory/anti-inflammatory state; and have potential utility in evaluating disease severity and efficacy of vaccines and drug therapies.
Infection and immunity 01/2014; · 4.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We characterized the immune responses elicited by a DNA-prime/MVA-boost vaccine (TcVac3) constituted of antigenic candidates (TcG2 and TcG4), shown to be recognized by B and T cell responses in Trypanosoma cruzi (Tc) infected multiple hosts. C57BL/6 mice immunized with TcVac3 elicited a strong antigen-specific, high-avidity, trypanolytic antibody response (IgG2b>IgG1); and a robust antigen- and Tc-specific CD8(+)T cell response with type-1 cytokine (IFN-γ(+)TNF-α>IL-4(+)IL-10) and cytolytic effector (CD8(+)CD107a(+)IFN-γ(+)Perforin(+)) phenotype. The vaccine-induced effector T cells significantly expanded upon challenge infection and provided >92% control of T. cruzi. Co-delivery of IL-12 and GMCSF cytokine adjuvants didn't enhance the TcVac3-induced resistance to T. cruzi. In chronic phase, vaccinated/infected mice exhibited a significant decline (up to 70%) in IFN-γ(+)CD8(+)T cells, a predominance of immunoregulatory IL-10(+)/CD4(+)T and IL10(+)/CD8(+)T cells, and presented undetectable tissue parasitism, inflammatory infiltrate, and fibrosis in vaccinated/infected mice. In comparison, control mice responded to challenge infection by a low antibody response, mixed cytokine profile, and consistent activation of pro-inflammatory CD8(+)T cells associated with parasite persistence and pathologic damage in the heart. We conclude that TcVac3 elicited type-1 effector T cell immunity that effectively controlled T. cruzi infection, and subsequently, predominance of anti-inflammatory responses prevented chronic inflammation and myocarditis in chagasic mice.
PLoS ONE 03/2013; 8(3):e59434. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, is endemic in Latin America and an emerging infectious disease in the US and Europe. We have shown TcG1, TcG2, and TcG4 antigens elicit protective immunity to T. cruzi in mice and dogs. Herein, we investigated antigenicity of the recombinant proteins in humans to determine their potential utility for the development of next generation diagnostics for screening of T. cruzi infection and Chagas disease.
Sera samples from inhabitants of the endemic areas of Argentina-Bolivia and Mexico-Guatemala were analyzed in 1(st)-phase for anti-T. cruzi antibody response by traditional serology tests; and in 2(nd)-phase for antibody response to the recombinant antigens (individually or mixed) by an ELISA. We noted similar antibody response to candidate antigens in sera samples from inhabitants of Argentina and Mexico (n = 175). The IgG antibodies to TcG1, TcG2, and TcG4 (individually) and TcG(mix) were present in 62-71%, 65-78% and 72-82%, and 89-93% of the subjects, respectively, identified to be seropositive by traditional serology. Recombinant TcG1- (93.6%), TcG2- (96%), TcG4- (94.6%) and TcG(mix)- (98%) based ELISA exhibited significantly higher specificity compared to that noted for T. cruzi trypomastigote-based ELISA (77.8%) in diagnosing T. cruzi-infection and avoiding cross-reactivity to Leishmania spp. No significant correlation was noted in the sera levels of antibody response and clinical severity of Chagas disease in seropositive subjects.
Three candidate antigens were recognized by antibody response in chagasic patients from two distinct study sites and expressed in diverse strains of the circulating parasites. A multiplex ELISA detecting antibody response to three antigens was highly sensitive and specific in diagnosing T. cruzi infection in humans, suggesting that a diagnostic kit based on TcG1, TcG2 and TcG4 recombinant proteins will be useful in diverse situations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial dysfunction is a key determinant in chagasic cardiomyopathy development in mice; however, its relevance in human Chagas disease is not known. We determined if defects in mitochondrial biogenesis and dysregulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) coactivator-1 (PGC-1)-regulated transcriptional pathways constitute a mechanism or mechanisms underlying mitochondrial oxidative-phosphorylation (OXPHOS) deficiency in human Chagas disease.
We utilized human cardiomyocytes and left-ventricular tissue from chagasic and other cardiomyopathy patients and healthy donors (n>6/group). We noted no change in citrate synthase activity, yet mRNA and/or protein levels of subunits of the respiratory complexes were significantly decreased in Trypanosoma cruzi-infected cardiomyocytes (0 to 24 hours) and chagasic hearts. We observed increased mRNA and decreased nuclear localization of PGC-1-coactivated transcription factors, yet the expression of genes for PPARγ-regulated fatty acid oxidation and nuclear respiratory factor (NRF1/2)-regulated mtDNA replication and transcription machinery was enhanced in infected cardiomyocytes and chagasic hearts. The D-loop formation was normal or higher, but mtDNA replication and mtDNA content were decreased by 83% and 40% to 65%, respectively. Subsequently, we noted that reactive oxygen species (ROS), oxidative stress, and mtDNA oxidation were significantly increased, yet NRF1/2-regulated antioxidant gene expression remained compromised in infected cardiomyocytes and chagasic hearts.
The replication of mtDNA was severely compromised, resulting in a significant loss of mtDNA and expression of OXPHOS genes in T cruzi-infected cardiomyocytes and chagasic hearts. Our data suggest increased ROS generation and selective functional incapacity of NRF2-mediated antioxidant gene expression played a role in the defects in mtDNA replication and unfitness of mtDNA for replication and gene expression in Chagas disease.
Journal of the American Heart Association 12/2012; 1(6):e003855.
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[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we have characterized the immune mechanisms elicited by antigenic candidates, TcG2 and TcG4, delivered by a DNA-prime/MVA-boost approach, and evaluated the host responses to Trypanosoma cruzi infection in C57BL/6 mice. Immunization of mice with antigenic candidates elicited antigen-specific, high-avidity, trypanolytic antibody response (IgG2b>IgG1) and CD8(+)T cells that exhibited type-1 cytolytic effector (CD8(+)CD107a(+)IFN-γ(+)Perforin(+)) phenotype. The extent of TcG2-dependent type 1 B and T cell immunity was higher than that noted in TcG4-immunized mice, and expanded accordingly in response to challenge infection with T. cruzi. The progression of chronic phase in immunized mice was associated with persistence of IgGs, 55-90% reduction in the frequency of proinflammatory (IFN-γ(+) or TNF-α(+)) CD8(+)T cells, and an increase or emergence of immunoregulatory (IL-10(+)) CD4/CD8 T cells. The tissue parasitism, infiltration of inflammatory infiltrate, parasite persistence, and fibrosis were decreased by 82-92% in heart and skeletal muscle of immunized/chronically infected mice. Control mice exhibited a significantly low antibody response, consistent activation of effector CD8(+)T cells dominated by pro-inflammatory phenotype and mixed cytokine profile (IFN-γ+TNF-α>IL-4+IL-10), parasite persistence and pathologic damage in chagasic hearts. We conclude that delivery of TcG2 or TcG4 by DNA-rMVA approach elicits effective antibody and CD8(+)T cell mediated immunity against T. cruzi and Chagas disease. The emergence of type 2 cytokine and T cell response in chronic phase was indicative of prevention of clinical disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chagas disease is initiated upon infection by Trypanosoma cruzi. Among the health consequences is a decline in heart function, and the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying this manifestation are not well understood. To explore the possible mechanisms, we employed IgY LC10 affinity chromatography in conjunction with ProteomeLab PF2D and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis to resolve the proteome signature of high and low abundance serum proteins in chagasic patients. MALDI-TOF MS/MS analysis yielded 80 and 14 differentially expressed proteins associated with cardiomyopathy of chagasic and other etiologies, respectively. The extent of oxidative stress-induced carbonyl modifications of the differentially expressed proteins (n = 26) was increased and coupled with a depression of antioxidant proteins. Functional annotation of the top networks developed by ingenuity pathway analysis of proteome database identified dysregulation of inflammation/acute phase response signaling and lipid metabolism relevant to production of prostaglandins and arachidonic acid in chagasic patients. Overlay of the major networks identified prothrombin and plasminogen at a nodal position with connectivity to proteome signature indicative of heart disease (i.e., thrombosis, angiogenesis, vasodilatation of blood vessels or the aorta, and increased permeability of blood vessel and endothelial tubes), and inflammatory responses (e.g., platelet aggregation, complement activation, and phagocyte activation and migration). The detection of cardiac proteins (myosin light chain 2 and myosin heavy chain 11) and increased levels of vinculin and plasminogen provided a comprehensive set of biomarkers of cardiac muscle injury and development of clinical Chagas disease in human patients. These results provide an impetus for biomarker validation in large cohorts of clinically characterized chagasic patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas Disease, is a major vector borne health problem in Latin America and an emerging infectious disease in the United States.
We tested the efficacy of a multi-component DNA-prime/DNA-boost vaccine (TcVac1) against experimental T. cruzi infection in a canine model. Dogs were immunized with antigen-encoding plasmids and cytokine adjuvants, and two weeks after the last immunization, challenged with T. cruzi trypomastigotes. We measured antibody responses by ELISA and haemagglutination assay, parasitemia and infectivity to triatomines by xenodiagnosis, and performed electrocardiography and histology to assess myocardial damage and tissue pathology.
Vaccination with TcVac1 elicited parasite-and antigen-specific IgM and IgG (IgG2>IgG1) responses. Upon challenge infection, TcVac1-vaccinated dogs, as compared to non-vaccinated controls dogs, responded to T. cruzi with a rapid expansion of antibody response, moderately enhanced CD8(+) T cell proliferation and IFN-γ production, and suppression of phagocytes' activity evidenced by decreased myeloperoxidase and nitrite levels. Subsequently, vaccinated dogs controlled the acute parasitemia by day 37 pi (44 dpi in non-vaccinated dogs), and exhibited a moderate decline in infectivity to triatomines. TcVac1-immunized dogs did not control the myocardial parasite burden and electrocardiographic and histopatholgic cardiac alterations that are the hallmarks of acute Chagas disease. During the chronic stage, TcVac1-vaccinated dogs exhibited a moderate decline in cardiac alterations determined by EKG and anatomo-/histo-pathological analysis while chronically-infected/non-vaccinated dogs continued to exhibit severe EKG alterations.
Overall, these results demonstrated that TcVac1 provided a partial resistance to T. cruzi infection and Chagas disease, and provide an impetus to improve the vaccination strategy against Chagas disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pathology of Chagas disease presents a complicated and diverse picture in humans. The major complications and destructive evolutionary outcomes of chronic infection by Trypanosoma cruzi in humans include ventricular fibrillation, thromboembolism and congestive heart failure. Studies in animal models and human patients have revealed the pathogenic mechanisms during disease progression, pathology of disease and features of protective immunity. Accordingly, several antigens, antigen-delivery vehicles and adjuvants have been tested to elicit immune protection to T. cruzi in experimental animals. This review summarizes the research efforts in vaccine development against Chagas disease during the past decade.
Advances in Parasitology 01/2011; 75:121-46. · 4.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inflammation is a host defence activated by exogenous (e.g. pathogen-derived, pollutants) or endogenous (e.g. reactive oxygen species-ROS) danger signals. Mostly, endogenous molecules (or their derivatives) have well-defined intracellular function but become danger signal when released or exposed following stress or injury. In this review, we discuss the potential role of ROS in chronic evolution of inflammatory cardiovascular diseases, using our experiences working on chagasic cardiomyopathy as a focus-point.
Advances in Parasitology 01/2011; 76:153-70. · 4.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chagas disease is a major health problem in Latin America, and an emerging infectious disease in the US. Previously, we have screened the Trypanosoma cruzi sequence database by a computational/bioinformatics approach, and identified antigens that exhibited the characteristics of vaccine candidates.
We investigated the protective efficacy of a multi-component DNA-prime/protein-boost vaccine (TcVac2) constituted of the selected candidates and cytokine (IL-12 and GM-CSF) expression plasmids in a murine model. C57BL/6 mice were immunized with antigen-encoding plasmids plus cytokine adjuvants, followed by recombinant proteins; and two-weeks later, challenged with T. cruzi trypomastigotes. ELISA and flow cytometry were employed to measure humoral (antibody isotypes) and cellular (lymphocyte proliferation, CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell phenotype and cytokines) responses. Myocardial pathology was evaluated by H&E and Masson's trichrome staining.
TcVac2 induced a strong antigen-specific antibody response (IgG2b>IgG1) and a moderate level of lymphocyte proliferation in mice. Upon challenge infection, TcVac2-vaccinated mice expanded the IgG2b/IgG1 antibodies and elicited a substantial CD8(+) T cell response associated with type 1 cytokines (IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha) that resulted in control of acute parasite burden. During chronic phase, antibody response persisted, splenic activation of CD8(+) T cells and IFN-gamma/TNF-alpha cytokines subsided, and IL-4/IL-10 cytokines became dominant in vaccinated mice. The tissue parasitism, inflammation, and fibrosis in heart and skeletal muscle of TcVac2-vaccinated chronic mice were undetectable by histological techniques. In comparison, mice injected with vector or cytokines only responded to T. cruzi by elicitation of a mixed (type 1/type 2) antibody, T cell and cytokine response, and exhibited persistent parasite burden and immunopathology in the myocardium.
TcVac2-induced activation of type 1 antibody and lymphocyte responses provided resistance to acute T. cruzi infection, and consequently, prevented the evolution of chronic immunopathology associated with parasite persistence in chagasic hearts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine the pathological importance of oxidative stress-induced injurious processes in chagasic heart dysfunction.
Trypanosoma cruzi-induced inflammatory pathology and a feedback cycle of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress may contribute to Chagas disease.
Sprague-Dawley rats were infected with T. cruzi and treated with phenyl-alpha-tert-butylnitrone (PBN), an antioxidant, and/or benzonidazole (BZ), an antiparasitic agent. We monitored myocardial parasite burden, oxidative adducts, mitochondrial complex activities, respiration, and adenosine triphosphate synthesis rates, and inflammatory and cardiac remodeling responses during disease development. The cardiac hemodynamics was determined for all rats.
Benzonidazole (not PBN) decreased the parasite persistence and immune adverse events (proinflammatory cytokine expression, beta-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase and myeloperoxidase activities, and inflammatory infiltrate) in chronically infected hearts. PBN +/- BZ (not BZ alone) decreased the mitochondrial reactive oxygen species level, oxidative adducts (malonyldialdehyde, 4-hydroxynonenal, carbonyls), hypertrophic gene expression (atrial natriuretic peptide, B-type natriuretic peptide, alpha-skeletal actin), and collagen deposition and preserved the respiratory chain efficiency and energy status in chronically infected hearts. Subsequently, LV dysfunction was prevented in PBN +/- BZ-treated chagasic rats.
BZ treatment after the acute stage decreased the parasite persistence and inflammatory pathology. Yet, oxidative adducts, mitochondrial dysfunction, and remodeling responses persisted and contributed to declining cardiac function in chagasic rats. Combination treatment (PBN + BZ) was beneficial in arresting the T. cruzi-induced inflammatory and oxidative pathology and chronic heart failure in chagasic rats.
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 06/2010; 55(22):2499-508. · 15.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we demonstrate that human cardiomyocytes (AC16) produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inflammatory cytokines in response to Trypanosoma cruzi. ROS were primarily produced by mitochondria, some of which diffused to cytosol of infected cardiomyocytes. These ROS resulted in an increase in 8-hydroxyguanine lesions and DNA fragmentation that signaled PARP-1 activation evidenced by poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR) modification of PARP-1 and other proteins in infected cardiomyocytes. Phenyl-alpha-tert-butylnitrone blocked the mitochondrial ROS (mtROS) formation, DNA damage, and PARP-1 activation in infected cardiomyocytes. Further inhibition studies demonstrated that ROS and PARP-1 signaled TNF-alpha and IL-1beta expression in infected cardiomyocytes. ROS directly signaled the nuclear translocation of RelA (p65), NF-kappaB activation, and cytokine gene expression. PARP-1 exhibited no direct interaction with p65 and did not signal its translocation to nuclei in infected cardiomyocytes. Instead, PARP-1 contributed to PAR modification of p65-interacting nuclear proteins and assembly of the NF-kappaB transcription complex. PJ34 (PARP-1 inhibitor) also prevented mitochondrial poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation (PARylation) and ROS formation. We conclude that T. cruzi-mediated mtROS provide primary stimulus for PARP-1-NF-kappaB activation and cytokine gene expression in infected cardiomyocytes. PAR modification of mitochondrial membranes then results in a feedback cycle of mtROS formation and DNA damage/PARP-1 activation. ROS, either through direct modulation of cytosolic NF-kappaB, or via PARP-1-dependent PAR modification of p65-interacting nuclear proteins, contributes to cytokine gene expression. Our results demonstrate a link between ROS and inflammatory responses in cardiomyocytes infected by T. cruzi and provide a clue to the pathomechanism of sustained inflammation in Chagas disease.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2010; 285(15):11596-606. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we investigated the role of Trypanosoma cruzi invasion and inflammatory processes in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in a mouse atrial cardiomyocyte line (HL-1) and primary adult rat ventricular cardiomyocytes. Cardiomyocytes were incubated with T. cruzi (Tc) trypomastigotes, Tc lysate (TcTL), or Tc secreted proteins (TcSP) for 0-72 h, and ROS were measured by amplex red assay. Cardiomyocytes infected by T. cruzi (but not those incubated with TcTL or TcSP) exhibited a linear increase in ROS production for 2-48 h postinfection (max 18-fold increase), which was further enhanced by recombinant cytokines (IL-1beta, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma). We observed no increase in NADPH oxidase, xanthine oxidase, or myeloperoxidase activity, and specific inhibitors of these enzymes did not block the increased rate of ROS production in infected cardiomyocytes. Instead, the mitochondrial membrane potential was perturbed and resulted in inefficient electron transport chain (ETC) activity and enhanced electron leakage and ROS formation in infected cardiomyocytes. HL-1 rho (rho) cardiomyocytes lacked a functional ETC and exhibited no increase in ROS formation in response to T. cruzi. Together, these results demonstrate that invasion by T. cruzi and an inflammatory milieu affect mitochondrial integrity and contribute to electron transport chain inefficiency and ROS production in cardiomyocytes.
Free Radical Biology and Medicine 09/2009; 47(10):1414-21. · 5.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is growing evidence to suggest that chagasic myocardia are exposed to sustained oxidative stress induced injuries that may contribute to disease progression. Trypanosoma cruzi invasion- and replication-mediated cellular injuries and immune-mediated cytotoxic reactions are the common source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) during acute infection. Mitochondria are proposed to be the major source of ROS in chronic chagasic hearts. However, it has not been established yet, whether mitochondrial dysfunction is a causative factor in chagasic cardiomyopathy or a consequence of other pathological events. A better understanding of oxidative stress in relation to cardiac tissue damage would be useful in the evaluation of its true role in the pathogenesis of Chagas disease and other heart diseases. In this review, we discuss the evidence for increased oxidative stress in chagasic disease, with emphasis on mitochondrial abnormalities, and its role in sustaining oxidative stress in myocardium.
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases 02/2009; 2009:190354.