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Journal of Tropical Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 614820, 7 pages
Review Article

Mechanism of Trypanosoma cruzi Placenta Invasion and Infection: The Use of Human Chorionic Villi Explants

1Department of Histology and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Córdoba, 5000 Cordoba, Argentina
2IICSHUM and Cathedra of Histology, Embryology and Genetic, Health Department, Universidad Nacional La Rioja, 5300 La Rioja, Argentina
3Program of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, 8380453 Santiago, Chile

Received 28 November 2011; Revised 6 February 2012; Accepted 14 February 2012

Academic Editor: Demba Sarr

Copyright © 2012 Ricardo E. Fretes and Ulrike Kemmerling. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Congenital Chagas disease, a neglected tropical disease, endemic in Latin America, is associated with premature labor and miscarriage. During vertical transmission the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi) crosses the placental barrier. However, the exact mechanism of the placental infection remains unclear. We review the congenital transmission of T. cruzi, particularly the role of possible local placental factors that contribute to the vertical transmission of the parasite. Additionally, we analyze the different methods available for studying the congenital transmission of the parasite. In that context, the ex vivo infection with T. cruzi trypomastigotes of human placental chorionic villi constitutes an excellent tool for studying parasite infection strategies as well as possible local antiparasitic mechanisms.