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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2012, Article ID 478601, 11 pages
Review Article

Lipid Bodies: Inflammatory Organelles Implicated in Host-Trypanosoma cruzi Interplay during Innate Immune Responses

1Laboratory of Cellular Biology, Department of Biology, Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UF JF), 36036-900 Juiz de Fora, MG, Brazil
2Program of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Oswaldo Cruz Institute (IOC/FIOCRUZ), 21040-360 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

Received 17 November 2011; Revised 8 February 2012; Accepted 14 February 2012

Academic Editor: Nicolas Flamand

Copyright © 2012 Heloisa D'Avila 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.


The flagellated protozoa Trypanosoma cruzi is the causal agent of Chagas' disease, a significant public health issue and still a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Latin America. Acute Chagas' disease elicits a strong inflammatory response. In order to control the parasite multiplication, cells of the monocytic lineage are highly mobilized. Monocyte differentiation leads to the formation of phagocytosing macrophages, which are strongly activated and direct host defense. A distinguishing feature of Chagas' disease-triggered macrophages is the presence of increased numbers of distinct cytoplasmic organelles termed lipid bodies or lipid droplets. These organelles are actively formed in response to the parasite and are sites for synthesis and storage of inflammatory mediators. This review covers current knowledge on lipid bodies elicited by the acute Chagas' disease within inflammatory macrophages and discusses the role of these organelles in inflammation. The increased knowledge of lipid bodies in pathogenic mechanisms of infections may not only contribute to the understanding of pathogen-host interactions but may also identify new targets for intervention.