UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease & Immunology

Publication Date


Document Type



Cardiovascular Diseases | Immunity | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Immunopathology | Immunoprophylaxis and Therapy | Parasitic Diseases


Chagas disease (CD), caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, is a prototypical neglected tropical disease. Specific immunity promotes acute phase survival. Nevertheless, one-third of CD patients develop chronic chagasic cardiomyopathy (CCC) associated with parasite persistence and immunological unbalance. Currently, the therapeutic management of patients only mitigates CCC symptoms. Therefore, a vaccine arises as an alternative to stimulate protective immunity and thereby prevent, delay progression and even reverse CCC. We examined this hypothesis by vaccinating mice with replication-defective human Type 5 recombinant adenoviruses (rAd) carrying sequences of amastigote surface protein-2 (rAdASP2) and trans-sialidase (rAdTS) T. cruzi antigens. For prophylactic vaccination, naive C57BL/6 mice were immunized with rAdASP2+rAdTS (rAdVax) using a homologous prime/boost protocol before challenge with the Colombian strain. For therapeutic vaccination, rAdVax administration was initiated at 120 days post-infection (dpi), when mice were afflicted by CCC. Mice were analyzed for electrical abnormalities, immune response and cardiac parasitism and tissue damage. Prophylactic immunization with rAdVax induced antibodies and H-2Kb-restricted cytotoxic and interferon (IFN)gamma-producing CD8+ T-cells, reduced acute heart parasitism and electrical abnormalities in the chronic phase. Therapeutic vaccination increased survival and reduced electrical abnormalities after the prime (analysis at 160 dpi) and the boost (analysis at 180 and 230 dpi). Post-therapy mice exhibited less heart injury and electrical abnormalities compared with pre-therapy mice. rAdVax therapeutic vaccination preserved specific IFNgamma-mediated immunity but reduced the response to polyclonal stimuli (anti-CD3 plus anti-CD28), CD107a+ CD8+ T-cell frequency and plasma nitric oxide (NO) levels. Moreover, therapeutic rAdVax reshaped immunity in the heart tissue as reduced the number of perforin+ cells, preserved the number of IFNgamma+ cells, increased the expression of IFNgamma mRNA but reduced inducible NO synthase mRNA. Vaccine-based immunostimulation with rAd might offer a rational alternative for re-programming the immune response to preserve and, moreover, recover tissue injury in Chagas' heart disease.


Chagas diseas, cardiomyopathy, immunity, vaccine

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Copyright: © 2015 Pereira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI of Published Version



PLoS Pathog. 2015 Jan 24;11(1):e1004594. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004594. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

PLoS pathogens

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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