Trypanosoma cruzi is the causative agent of Chagas disease, which is characterized by acute and chronic phases. During the former, parasitemia rises dramatically, then decreases significantly during the chronic phase. Immune mechanisms responsible for the parasitemia reduction have not been thoroughly elucidated. The goal of the present study was to further characterize the immune response during chronic infection. Previously, we described antiegressin, an antibody in sera from chronically infected mice. The in vitro presence of antiegressin inhibits parasite egress from infected host cells. Antiegressin appears by day 14 of an in vivo infection and is maintained through at least day 280 postinfection. The in vitro functional activity of antiegressin is initiated late in the 4–6 days intracellular growth cycle of T. cruzi; antiegressin may be added at day 4, inhibiting parasite release at day 5. Immunocytochemical staining using antineuraminidase demonstrates the presence of mature parasites inside host BALB/c fibroblasts grown in the presence of antiegressin. These results demonstrate the ability of antiegressin to inhibit emergence of developmentally mature trypomastigotes from infected host cells late in their intracellular growth cycle. We believe this antibody plays an important and novel role in achieving the low-parasitemia characteristic of chronic Chagas disease.
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