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Journal of Tropical Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 758357, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/758357
Research Article

Reorganization of Extracellular Matrix in Placentas from Women with Asymptomatic Chagas Disease: Mechanism of Parasite Invasion or Local Placental Defense?

1Programa de Anatomía y Biología del Desarrollo, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Independencia, Región Metropolitana, 1027 Santiago de Chile, Chile
2Programa de Biología Celular y Molecular, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Independencia, Región Metropolitana, 1027 Santiago de Chile, Chile
3Servicio de Obstetricia y Ginecología, Hospital de Illapel, Independencia, IV Región, 0512 Illapel, Chile
4Programa de Farmacología Molecular y Clínica, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Independencia, Región Metropolitana, 1027 Santiago de Chile, Chile
5Departamento de Estomatología, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Talca, Avenida Lircay s/n, VII Región, 3460000 Talca, Chile

Received 27 April 2011; Accepted 8 August 2011

Academic Editor: Ricardo E. Fretes

Copyright © 2012 Juan Duaso et al. 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.

Abstract

Chagas disease, produced by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi), is one of the most frequent endemic diseases in Latin America. In spite the fact that in the past few years T. cruzi congenital transmission has become of epidemiological importance, studies about this mechanism of infection are scarce. In order to explore some morphological aspects of this infection in the placenta, we analyzed placentas from T. cruzi-infected mothers by immunohistochemical and histochemical methods. Infection in mothers, newborns, and placentas was confirmed by PCR and by immunofluorescence in the placenta. T. cruzi-infected placentas present destruction of the syncytiotrophoblast and villous stroma, selective disorganization of the basal lamina, and disorganization of collagen I in villous stroma. Our results suggest that the parasite induces reorganization of this tissue component and in this way may regulate both inflammatory and immune responses in the host. Changes in the ECM of placental tissues, together with the immunological status of mother and fetus, and parasite load may determine the probability of congenital transmission of T. cruzi.