The enigmatic role of cholinergic reflex in the pathogenesis of Chagas disease
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This study evaluated the inflammatory process in the colons of mice infected with Trypanosoma cruzi QM2 strain, through the analysis of muscle reactivity and the measurement of butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) in plasma. Swiss mice were infected with T. cruzi QM2 strain and after 15 (G15), 30 (G30), 60 (G60), 90 (G90), and 210 (G210) days, each group had blood collected for the measurement of butyrylcholinesterase plasma concentrations ([BuChE]), a measure which functioned as an indicator of plasmatic Ach levels. All groups, except G15, had a segment of proximal colon removed to assess muscle reactivity to acetylcholine (Ach) and noradrenaline (NA) stimulation. After reactivity tests, the tissues were then fixed and stained with hematoxylin and eosin (HE) for histological evaluation of inflammatory response. The QM2 strain did induce inflammatory process in mice colon, and demonstrated differences in muscular contraction between the G60 and G210 groups, with p < 0.05. Plasma [BuChE] increased during the acute phase of infection (p < 0.05) with subsequent heterogeneous decline in the late chronic phase. These results show that the QM2 strain has tropism to the colon of mice and causes damage characteristic of megacolon; also, Ach has an enigmatic importance in the anti-inflammatory reflex over the course of T. cruzi infection.