Trypanosoma cruziand myoid cells from seminiferous tubules: interaction and relation with fibrous components of extracellular matrix in experimental Chagas’ disease


Kátia da Silva Calabrese
Laboratório de Imunomodulação e Protozoologia, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, FIOCRUZ
Avenida Brazil, 4365 Pavilhão Carlos Chagas, 3º andar Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. CEP: 21045-900
Tel.: 55 21 2560 6572
Fax: 55 21 2560 6572


The main transmission route of Trypanosoma cruzi is by triatomine bugs. However, T. cruzi is also transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplantation, ingestion of contaminated food or fluids, or is congenital. Sexual transmission, although suggested since the discovery of Chagas’ disease, has remained unproven. Sexual transmission would require T. cruzi to be located at the testes and ovaries. Here we investigated whether T. cruzi is present in the gonads of mice infected with 104T. cruzi trypomastigotes from the CL strain. Fourteen days after experimental infection, histopathological examination showed alterations in the extracellular matrix of the lamina propria of the seminiferous tubules. Furthermore, amastigotes were present in seminiferous tubules, within myoid cells, and in the adjacencies of the basal compartment. These results indicate that T. cruzi is able to reach seminiferous tubule lumen, thus suggesting that Chagas’ disease could potentially be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Complementary studies are required to demonstrate that Chagas’ disease can be transmitted by coitus.