Expression of cardiac cytokines and inducible form of nitric oxide synthase (NOS2) in Trypanosoma cruzi-infected mice

H. Huang, J. Chan, M. Wittner, L. A. Jelicks, S. A. Morris, S. M. Factor, L. M. Weiss, V. L. Braunstein, C. J. Bacchi, N. Yarlett, M. Chandra, J. Shirani, H. B. Tanowitz

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109 Scopus citations


Both cardiac cytokine and inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS2) expression have been implicated in the cardiac dysfunction associated with myocarditis and cardiomyopathy. Chagas' disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, is an important cause of cardiomyopathy. We examined the effect of T. cruzi (Brazil strain) infection with or without verapamil treatment on the expression of cytokines and NOS2 in the heart. Messenger RNA for NOS2, IL-1β, and TNF-α was induced in the myocardium of infected mice, and Western blot analysis as well as immunohistochemistry demonstrated a significant increase in NOS2 protein. Verapamil treatment reduced the expression of cardiac NOS2 protein and the mRNAs for NOS2, TNF-α, and IL-1β. Infection-associated increases in cardiac L-citrulline were also reduced by verapamil treatment. Verapamil-treated infected mice that survived for 80 days exhibited less inflammation and fibrosis compared to untreated mice. Gated MRI and echocardiography revealed an increased right ventricular inner diameter (RVID) in untreated but not in verapamil-treated infected CD1 mice. This suggests that the infection-associated expression of cytokines and NOS2 in the heart correlate with the severity of myocarditis and the effect of verapamil. The RVID was significantly increased in infected wild-type (WT) compared to infected syngeneic NOS2 knockout (NOS2(-/-)) mice. Fractional shortening was decreased and myocardial L-citrulline was increased in infected WT mice. These data suggest that NO generated from cardiac NOS2 may participate in the pathogenesis of murine chagasic heart disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-88
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Chagas' disease
  • Cytokines
  • Echocardiography
  • Fractional shortening
  • Mice
  • NOS2
  • Nitric oxide
  • Trypanosoma cruzi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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