Potential role of CD4+CD25HIGH regulatory T cells in morbidity in Chagas disease

Fernanda Fortes Araujo, Juliana Assis Silva Gomes, Manoel Otavio Costa Rocha, Sarah Williams-Blangero, Vladimir Martins Pinheiro, Maria Jose Ferreira Morato, Rodrigo Correa-Oliveira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Several immunoregulatory mechanisms are proposed to be effective both in human and experimental Trypanosoma cruzi infection. However, the role of CD4+CD25high T cells in Chagas disease has not yet been elucidated. These cells are critical for the regulation of immune response to infectious agents and in the control of autoimmune diseases. In this study, the presence of CD4+CD25high regulatory T cells in the whole blood of non-infected individuals (NI), and patients with the indeterminate (IND) and cardiac form (CARD) of Chagas disease was evaluated. To further characterize this population of regulatory cells, the co-expression of CTLA-4, CD62L, CD45RO, CD45RA, HLA-DR, CD40L, CD69, CD54, IL-10R and the intracellular molecules FOXP3 and IL-10 on the CD4+CD25high T lymphocytes was examined. FOXP3 was expressed by the majority of CD4 +CD25high when compared with the other CD4+ T cells subsets in patients with Chagas disease. Patients with the IND form of the disease had a higher frequency of circulating regulatory CD4 +CD25high T cells than patients with the CARD form. Moreover, there was an increase in CD4+CD25highFOXP3 + cells that were also IL-10+ in the IND group whereas, in the CARD group, there was an increase in the percentage of CD4 +CD25high FOXP3+ cells that expressed CTLA-4. These data suggest that IL-10 produced by regulatory T cells is effective in controlling disease development in patients with the IND form. However, in individuals with the CARD form of the disease, the same regulatory mechanism, mediated by IL-10 and CTLA-4 expression is not sufficient to control the progression of the disease. The data suggest that CD4+CD25 highFOXP3+ regulatory T cells in patients with Chagas disease might play a role in the immune response against T. cruzi infection although with distinct effects in patients with the IND and CARD forms of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2797-2806
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - May 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Chagas disease
  • Cytokines
  • Regulatory T cells
  • Trypanosoma cruzi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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