Evaluation Studies
Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
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Treatment Success in Trypanosoma cruzi Infection Is Predicted by Early Changes in Serially Monitored Parasite-Specific T and B Cell Responses.

BACKGROUND: Chagas disease is the highest impact parasitic disease in Latin America. We have proposed that changes in Trypanosoma cruzi-specific immune responses might serve as surrogate indicators of treatment success. Herein, we addressed in a long-term follow-up study whether cure achieved after treatment can be predicted by changes in non-conventional indexes of anti-parasite serological and T cell activities.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: T. cruzi-specific T cell responses, as measured by interferon-γ ELISPOT and T. cruzi-specific antibodies assessed by ELISA, hemagglutination and immunofluorescence tests as well as by a multiplex assay incorporating 14 recombinant T. cruzi proteins were measured in 33 patients at 48-150 months post-benznidazole treatment. Cure - as assessed by conventional serological tests - was associated with an early decline in T. cruzi-specific IFN-γ-producing T cells and in antibody titers measured by the multiplex serological assay. Changes in the functional status and potential of T. cruzi-specific T cells, indicative of reduced antigen stimulation, provided further evidence of parasitological cure following benznidazole treatment. Patients showing a significant reduction in T. cruzi-specific antibodies had higher pre-therapy levels of T. cruzi-specific IFN-γ- producing T cells compared to those with unaltered humoral responses post-treatment.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Monitoring of appropriate immunological responses can provide earlier and robust measures of treatment success in T. cruzi infection.

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