Mice infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of Chagas disease, rapidly develop anemia and thrombocytopenia. These effects are partially promoted by the parasite trans-sialidase (TS), which is shed in the blood and depletes sialic acid from the platelets, inducing accelerated platelet clearance and causing thrombocytopenia during the acute phase of disease. Here, we demonstrate that oral immunization of C57BL/6 mice with Phytomonas serpens, a phytoflagellate parasite that shares common antigens with T. cruzi but has no TS activity, reduces parasite burden and prevents thrombocytopenia and leukopenia. Immunization also reduces platelet loss after intraperitoneal injection of TS. In addition, passive transfer of immune sera raised in mice against P. serpens prevented platelet clearance. Thus, oral exposure to P. serpens attenuates the progression of thrombocytopenia induced by TS from T. cruzi. These findings are not only important for the understanding of the pathogenesis of T. cruzi infection but also for developing novel approaches of intervention in Chagas disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)