Memory impairment in chronic experimental Chagas disease: Benznidazole therapy reversed cognitive deficit in association with reduction of parasite load and oxidative stress in the nervous tissue

Citation metadata

From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 1)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 9,757 words
Lexile Measure: 1510L

Document controls

Main content

Abstract :

Memory impairment has been associated with chronic Chagas disease (CD), a neglected tropical disease caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. In degenerative diseases, memory loss has been associated with increased oxidative stress, revealed as enhanced lipid peroxidation, in the cerebral cortex. Benznidazole (Bz), a trypanocidal drug efficient to reduce blood parasite load in the acute and chronic phases of infection, showed controversial effects on heart disease progression, the main clinical manifestation of CD. Here, we evaluated whether C57BL/6 mice infected with the Colombian type I T. cruzi strain present memory deficit assessed by (i) the novel object recognition task, (ii) the open field test and (iii) the aversive shock evoked test, at 120 days post infection (dpi). Next, we tested the effects of Bz therapy (25mg/Kg/day, for 30 consecutive days) on memory evocation, and tried to establish a relation between memory loss, parasite load and oxidative stress in the central nervous system (CNS). At 120 dpi, T. cruzi-infected mice showed memory impairment, compared with age-matched non-infected controls. Bz therapy (from 120 to 150 dpi) hampered the progression of habituation and aversive memory loss and, moreover, reversed memory impairment in object recognition. In vehicle-administered infected mice, neuroinflammation was absent albeit rare perivascular mononuclear cells were found in meninges and choroid plexus. Bz therapy abrogated the infiltration of the CNS by inflammatory cells, and reduced parasite load in hippocampus and cerebral cortex. At 120 and 150 dpi, lipid peroxidation was increased in the hippocampus and cortex tissue extracts. Notably, Bz therapy reduced levels of lipid peroxidation in the cerebral cortex. Therefore, in experimental chronic T. cruzi infection Bz therapy improved memory loss, in association with reduction of parasite load and oxidative stress in the CNS, providing a new perspective to improve the quality of life of Chagas disease patients.

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A647526307