Diet regulates liver autophagy differentially in murine acute Trypanosoma cruzi infection

Kezia Lizardo, Vanessa Almonte, Calvin Law, Janeesh Plakkal Aiyyappan, Min Hui Cui, Fnu Nagajyothi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Chagas disease is a tropical parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, which affects about ten million people in its endemic regions of Latin America. After the initial acute stage of infection, 60–80% of infected individuals remain asymptomatic for several years to a lifetime; however, the rest develop the debilitating symptomatic stage, which affects the nervous system, digestive system, and heart. The challenges of Chagas disease have become global due to immigration. Despite well-documented dietary changes accompanying immigration, as well as a transition to a western style diet in the Chagas endemic regions, the role of host metabolism in the pathogenesis of Chagas disease remains underexplored. We have previously used a mouse model to show that host diet is a key factor regulating cardiomyopathy in Chagas disease. In this study, we investigated the effect of a high-fat diet on liver morphology and physiology, lipid metabolism, immune signaling, energy homeostasis, and stress responses in the murine model of acute T. cruzi infection. Our results indicate that in T. cruzi-infected mice, diet differentially regulates several liver processes, including autophagy, a stress response mechanism, with corresponding implications for human Chagas disease patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-723
Number of pages13
JournalParasitology research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Autophagy
  • Chagas disease
  • Hepatomegaly
  • High-fat diet
  • Lipid metabolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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