Parasitology

Research Article

Morphometric study of eosinophils, mast cells, macrophages and fibrosis in the colon of chronic chagasic patients with and without megacolon

A. B. M. da SILVEIRAa1 c1, S. J. ADADa2, R. CORREA-OLIVEIRAa3, J. B. FURNESSa4 and D. D'AVILA REISa1

a1 Department of Morphology, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil

a2 Department of Pathology, Medical School of Triângulo Mineiro, Uberaba, Minas Gerais, Brazil

a3 Research Center René Rachou, FIOCRUZ, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

a4 Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology and Centre for Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

SUMMARY

The mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of chagasic megacolon are not completely characterized. Although autoimmunity may play a role in the pathogenesis of Chagas' disease, recent studies suggest a positive association of tissue parasitism, inflammation, and severity of lesions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of inflammatory cells and the occurrence of fibrosis in the colon of chagasic patients with and without megacolon. Samples from 26 patients were randomly selected and paraffin-embedded tissue blocks were sectioned and evaluated by histology and immunohistochemistry to analyse the occurrence and relation among eosinophils, mast cells, macrophages and fibrosis. Section analyses showed that the presence of eosinophils and mast cells in the analysed inflammatory cells has a direct correlation with fibrosis density in the chagasic megacolon. These data suggest that the megacolon's pathogenesis is based on a continuous process of cell damage. Our data propose that eosinophils, mast cells and macrophages may have a direct connection with the occurrence of fibrosis in the colon of chagasic patients. We believe that potential therapeutic agents against these cells could avoid the fibrosis process and contribute to prevent the development of chagasic megacolon.

(Received October 23 2006)

(Revised November 11 2006)

(Accepted November 17 2006)

(Online publication February 09 2007)

Correspondence:

c1 *Corresponding author: Department of Morphology, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Av. Antônio Carlos, 6627, Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, CEP: 31270-901. Fax: +55 31 3499 2771. E-mail: alec@icb.ufmg.br

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