Significance of inducible nitric oxide synthase in acute myocarditis caused by Trypanosoma cruzi (Tulahuen strain)

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International Journal for Parasitology


Chagas' disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, is associated with myocarditis and expression of myocardial cytokines and inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS2). To assess the functional significance of NOS2 in murine Chagas' disease, we infected NOS2 knockout (NOS2-/-) and C57BL/6 × 129sv (wild type) mice with the Tulahuen strain of T. cruzi. Serial transthoracic echocardiography was performed to assess the progression of left and right ventricular dysfunction in infected mice. Uninfected wild type and NOS2-/- mice served as controls. At day 10 post-infection (p.i.), infected wild type mice had larger left ventricular end-diastolic diameter (2.52 ± 0.14-vs-2.11 ± 0.06 mm, P < 0.02) and right ventricle (0.6 ± 0.2-vs-0 visual grade, P < 0.02) as compared with uninfected wild type mice. At day 19 p.i., compared with uninfected controls, infected wild type mice had larger left ventricular end-diastolic diameter (3.30 ± 0.29-vs-2.11 ± 0.07 mm), left ventricular end-systolic diameter (1.86 ± 0.29-vs-0.88 ± 0.05 mm), right ventricle (1.6 ± 0.2-vs-0 visual grade), lower heart rate (413 ± 27-vs-557 ± 25 beats per min), left ventricular relative wall thickness (0.44 ± 0.05-vs-0.64 ± 0.03) and fractional shortening (45 ± 4-vs-57 ± 2%) [P < 0.05 for all]. In contrast, no differences in left ventricular end-diastolic diameter or fractional shortening were noted among infected and uninfected NOS2-/- mice at day 19 p.i. Compared with uninfected controls, infected NOS2-/- mice had significantly lower heart rate (272 ± 23-vs-512 ± 31 beats per min, P < 0.01) and larger right ventricle (0.6±0.2-vs-0, P < 0.05 visual grade). The magnitude of right ventricular dilation in NOS2-/- mice was less than that observed in infected wild type mice. At necropsy, the heart weight was greater (129 ± 16-vs-109 ± 7 mg, P = 0.02) and myocardial inflammation more severe in infected wild type compared with infected NOS2-/- mice. Myocardial interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumour necrosis factor-α, and interferon-γ were induced in all infected mice. These data indicate that nitric oxide derived from NOS2 plays an important role in the development and progression of ventricular dilation and systolic dysfunction in acute murine chagasic myocarditis caused by infection with the Tulahuen strain. © 2002 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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