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Comparative study of the presence of Trypanosoma cruzi kDNA, inflammation and denervation in chagasic patients with and without megaesophagus

  • A. B. M. da SILVEIRA (a1), R. M. E. ARANTES (a2), A. R. VAGO (a1), E. M. LEMOS (a3), S. J. ADAD (a4), R. CORREA-OLIVEIRA (a5) and D. D'AVILA REIS (a1)...


Neuronal lesions have been considered the hallmark of chagasic megaesophagus, but the role of Trypanosoma cruzi and the participation of the inflammatory cells in this process are still debated. In the present study we counted neurons in the oesophagus from patients with and without megaesophagus and further examined these samples for the presence of parasite kDNA and cells with cytolytic potential (Natural Killer cells, cytotoxic lymphocytes and macrophages). The presence of parasite kDNA was demonstrated in 100% of cases with megaesophagus and in 60% of patients without megaesophagus. When analysed for the number of neurons, the patients without megaesophagus could be classified into 2 groups, as having normal or a decreased number of neurons. The former group did not show any inflammatory process, but interestingly, all patients without megaesophagus presenting decreased number of neurons also presented both parasite kDNA and inflammatory process in the organ. We further observed that the numbers of cytotoxic cells in the myenteric plexus region inversely correlate with the number of neurons. These data together strongly suggest that chronic lesions in chagasic megaesophagus might be a consequence of immune-mediated mechanisms, that last until the chronic phase of infection, and are dependent on the persistence of parasite in the host's tissue.


Corresponding author

Departamento de Morfologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Av. Antônio Carlos, 6627, Pampulha, CEP: 31270-901, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Fax: +55 31 3499 2771. E-mail:


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Comparative study of the presence of Trypanosoma cruzi kDNA, inflammation and denervation in chagasic patients with and without megaesophagus

  • A. B. M. da SILVEIRA (a1), R. M. E. ARANTES (a2), A. R. VAGO (a1), E. M. LEMOS (a3), S. J. ADAD (a4), R. CORREA-OLIVEIRA (a5) and D. D'AVILA REIS (a1)...


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