Biological characterization of Trypanosoma cruzi epimastigotes derived from trypomastigotes isolated from Brazilian chagasic patients

Elsevier, Current Research in Microbial Sciences, Volume 3, January 2022
Nakamura I.B., Miguel D.C., Bruscato A., Pereira M.B., Campiolo D., de Almeida A.E. et al.

Chagas disease (CD), caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, occurs in several countries in Latin America and non-endemic countries. Heterogeneity among T. cruzi population has been the Achilles’ heel to find a better treatment for CD. In this study, we characterized the biochemical parameters and mitochondrial bioenergetics of epimastigotes differentiated from eight T. cruzi isolates (I1-I8) obtained from Brazilian CD patients. Molecular analysis of parasites DTUs grouped all of them as TcII. The profile of the growth curves in axenic cultures was distinct among them, except for I1 and I3 and I2 and I4. Doubling times, growth rates, cell body length, and resistance to benznidazole were also significantly different among them. All the isolates were more glucose-dependent than other T. cruzi strains adapted to grow in axenic culture. Mitochondrial bioenergetics analysis showed that each isolate behaved differently regarding oxygen consumption rates in non-permeabilized and in digitonin-permeabilized cells in the presence of a complex II-linked substrate. When complex IV-linked respiratory chain substrate was used to provide electrons to the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC), similarity among the isolates was higher. Our findings show that TcII epimastigotes derived from patients’ trypomastigotes displayed their own characteristics in vitro, highlighting the intra-TcII diversity, especially regarding the functionality of mitochondrial respiratory complexes II and IV. Understanding T. cruzi intraspecific biological features help us to move a step further on our comprehension regarding parasite's survival and adaptability offering clues to improve the development of new therapies for CD.