Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 9009297
Infect. Immun. 1997 Feb;65(2):457-65
A possible role for tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha during Trypanosoma cruzi infection was explored by using transgenic mice expressing in blood high levels of a soluble TNFR1-FcIgG3 fusion protein, which neutralizes the effects of TNF in vivo. Nontransgenic littermates were used as controls. The transgenic mice showed high susceptibility to T. cruzi infection. Inocula sublethal for control mice resulted in over 80% mortality associated with higher levels of parasites in the blood. In histological sections of the hearts of transgenic mice, large parasitic clusters without inflammatory cell infiltrates around the parasites were seen, while smaller parasitic clusters associated with leukocytes were seen in control mice. No difference in specific antibody response or lymphocyte composition of the spleen was found between transgenic and control mice, although the unresponsiveness of spleen cells to concanavalin A stimulation in vitro, typical of the acute phase of T. cruzi infection, was less pronounced in transgenic mice. Infected transgenic mice produced higher levels of gamma interferon than did control mice. These results confirm that TNF is involved in mechanisms leading to parasite clearance and protection from death in the acute phase of T. cruzi infection. More importantly, the data reveal that TNF is necessary for the establishment of effective tissue inflammation and parasite load control in acute experimental Chagas’ disease myocarditis.