Chagas disease reactivation in a heart transplant patient infected by domestic Trypanosoma cruzi discrete typing unit i (TcIDOM)

Jaime A. Costales, Camille N. Kotton, Andrea C. Zurita-Leal, Josselyn Garcia-Perez, Martin S. Llewellyn, Louisa A. Messenger, Tapan Bhattacharyya, Barbara A. Burleigh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Trypanosoma cruzi, causative agent of Chagas disease, displays high intraspecific genetic diversity: six genetic lineages or discrete typing units (DTUs) are currently recognized, termed TcI through TcVI. Each DTU presents a particular distribution pattern across the Americas, and is loosely associated with different transmission cycles and hosts. Several DTUs are known to circulate in Central America. It has been previously suggested that TcI infection is benign and does not lead to chronic chagasic cardiomyopathy (CCC). Findings: In this study, we genotyped T. cruzi parasites circulating in the blood and from explanted cardiac tissue of an El Salvadorian patient who developed reactivation Chagas disease while on immunosuppressive medications after undergoing heart transplant in the U.S. as treatment for end-stage CCC. Parasite typing was performed through molecular methods (restriction fragment length polymorphism of polymerase reaction chain amplified products, microsatellite typing, maxicircle sequence typing and low-stringency single primer PCR, [LSSP-PCR]) as well as lineage-specific serology. We show that the parasites infecting the patient belong to the TcI DTU exclusively. Our data indicate that the parasites isolated from the patient belong to a genotype frequently associated with human infection throughout the Americas (TcIDOM). Conclusions: Our results constitute compelling evidence in support of TcI DTU's ability to cause end-stage CCC and help dispel any residual bias that infection with this lineage is benign, pointing to the need for increased surveillance for dissemination of this genotype in endemic regions, the USA and globally.

Original languageEnglish
Article number435
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
StatePublished - 25 Aug 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Costales et al.


  • Chagas disease
  • Chagasic cardiomyopathy
  • Lineage
  • Reactivation
  • Trypanosoma cruzi


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