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Plasmid DNA immunization with Trypanosoma cruzi genes induces cardiac and clinical protection against Chagas disease in the canine model

Olivia Rodríguez-Morales1, M Magdalena Pérez-Leyva1, Martha A Ballinas-Verdugo1, Silvia C Carrillo-Sánchez1, J Luis Rosales-Encina2, Ricardo Alejandre-Aguilar3, Pedro A Reyes4 and Minerva Arce-Fonseca1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Molecular Biology, Instituto Nacional de Cardiología “Ignacio Chávez”, Juan Badiano No. 1, Col. Sección XVI, Tlalpan, Mexico City, 14080, Mexico

2 Department of Infectomics and Molecular Pathogenesis, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del I.P.N., Av. Instituto Politécnico Nacional No. 2508, Col. San Pedro Zacatenco, Gustavo A. Madero, Mexico City, 07360, Mexico

3 Department of Parasitology, Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas del I.P.N., Prolongación de Carpio y Plan de Ayala, Col. Sto. Tomás, Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico City, 11340, Mexico

4 Direction of Research, Instituto Nacional de Cardiología “Ignacio Chávez”, Juan Badiano No. 1, Col. Sección XVI, Tlalpan, Mexico City, 14080, Mexico

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Veterinary Research 2012, 43:79  doi:10.1186/1297-9716-43-79

Published: 13 November 2012


The only existing preventive measure against American trypanosomosis, or Chagas disease, is the control of the transmitting insect, which has only been effective in a few South American regions. Currently, there is no vaccine available to prevent this disease. Here, we present the clinical and cardiac levels of protection induced by expression to Trypanosoma cruzi genes encoding the TcSP and TcSSP4 proteins in the canine model. Physical examination, diagnostic chagasic serology, and serial electrocardiograms were performed before and after immunization, as well as after experimental infection. We found that immunization with recombinant plasmids prevented hyperthermia in the acute phase of experimental infection and produced lymphadenomegaly as an immunological response against the parasite and additionally prevented heart rate elevation (tachycardia) in the acute and/or chronic stages of infection. Immunization with T. cruzi genes encoding the TcSP and TcSSP4 antigens diminished the quality and quantity of the electrocardiographic abnormalities, thereby avoiding progression to more severe developments such as right bundle branch block or ventricular premature complexes in a greater number of dogs.