The diagnosis of Chagas disease in humans is generally limited to the detection of specific antibodies. Detection of T. cruzi antigens in urine has been reported previously, but is not used in the diagnosis. In this study, soluble T. cruzi antigens and DNA were detected in urine samples and were associated with kidney injury and systemic detection of the parasite. We used 72 guinea pigs infected with T. cruzi Y strain and 18 non-infected guinea pigs. Blood, kidney, heart and urine samples were collected during the acute phase and chronic phase. Urine samples were concentrated by ultrafiltration. Antigens were detected by Western Blot using a polyclonal antibody against trypomastigote excretory-secretory antigen (TESA). T. cruzi DNA was detected by PCR using primers 121/122 and TcZ1/TcZ2. Levels of T. cruzi DNA in blood, heart and kidney were determined by quantitative PCR. T. cruzi antigens (75 kDa, 80 kDa, 120 kDa, 150 kDa) were detected in the acute phase (67.5%) and the chronic phase (45%). Parasite DNA in urine was detected only in the acute phase (45%). Kidney injury was characterized by high levels of proteinuria, kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) and urea, and some histopathological changes such as inflammation, necrosis, fibrosis and scarce parasites. The detection of antigens and DNA in urine was associated with the presence of parasite DNA in blood and heart and with high levels of parasite DNA in blood, but not with the presence of parasite in kidney or kidney injury. These results suggest that the detection of T. cruzi in urine could be improved to be a valuable method for the diagnosis of Chagas disease, particularly in congenital Chagas disease and in immunocompromised patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)