Morphological changes, nitric oxide production, and phagocytosis are triggered in vitro in microglia by bloodstream form of Trypanosoma brucei

TitleMorphological changes, nitric oxide production, and phagocytosis are triggered in vitro in microglia by bloodstream form of Trypanosoma brucei
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsK, Figarella, Nestor Uzcategui L., S Mogk, K Wild, P Fallier-Becker, J Neher, and M Duszenko
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Type of Articlejournal article
Abstract

The flagellated parasite Trypanosoma brucei is the causative agent of Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT). By a mechanism not well understood yet, trypanosomes enter the central nervous system (CNS), invade the brain parenchyma, and cause a fatal encephalopathy if is not treated. Trypanosomes are fast dividing organisms that, without any immune response, would kill the host in a short time. However, infected individuals survive either 6–12 months or more than 3 years for the acute and chronic forms, respectively. Thus, only when the brain defense collapses a lethal encephalopathy will occur. Here, we evaluated interactions between trypanosomes and microglial cells, which are the primary immune effector cells within the CNS. Using co-cultures of primary microglia and parasites, we found clear evidences of trypanosome phagocytosis by microglial cells. Microglia activation was also evident; analysis of its ultrastructure showed changes that have been reported in activated microglia undergoing oxidative stress caused by infections or degenerative diseases. Accordingly, an increase of the nitric oxide production was detected in supernatants of microglia/parasite co-cultures. Altogether, our results demonstrate that microglial cells respond to the presence of the parasite, leading to parasite’s engulfment and elimination.

URLhttps://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-33395-x