Characterization of immunological responses in an experimental murine model to infection with distinct United States Trypanosoma cruzi isolates
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Trypanosoma cruzi strains are genetically and biologically diverse. T. cruzi is divided into six discrete typing units which have specific geographical and ecological associations. In the United States (US), TcI and IV have been isolated from various hosts. Although human cases of Chagas’ disease are rare within the US, the prevalence of T. cruzi in sylvatic cycles is high. Experimental murine models closely mimic various aspects of Chagas’ disease, including immune mechanisms and histopathological implications of infection with different T. cruzi strains. Currently, little characterization work has been conducted on US strains. The goal of this thesis was to characterize the cytokine production of mice experimentally inoculated with diverse T. cruzi strains from the United States and South America and to determine changes in cytokine production and pathology in mice previously exposed to a US T. cruzi strain and subsequently challenged with a South American T. cruzi strain.