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Acta Parasitologica, Vol.46, No. 3, 2001, 229-232
Herrera Leidi, Urdaneta-Morales Servio* - Experimental infections of anal glands of Didelphis marsupialis by Trypanosoma cruzi and the effects of immunosuppressive treatment.

Laboratorio de Biología de Trypanosoma de Mamíferos, Instituto de Zoología Tropical, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Apartado 47462, Los Chaguaramos, Caracas 1041-A, Venezuela
*Corresponding author: Fax: 58 212 753 5897, E-mail:

Trypanosoma cruzi can develop through an extracellular cycle in the anal scent glands of opossums. Blood from infected opossums (Didelphis marsupialis) was inoculated directly into the lumen of the anal glands of healthy opossums, one of which developed parasitemia with detectable amastigotes in the heart, without anal gland colonisation. Control opossums and mice inoculated i.p. showed invasion of heart, skeletal muscle and pancreas and also colonisation of the anal glands lumen. Cyclophosphamide immunosuppression of animals with patent parasitemia showed slight elevation of parasitemia, but no recovery of parasitemia in an animal with latent infection nor scent gland infection in any of the animals. These preliminary results suggest that T. cruzi blood trypomastigotes can penetrate the mucosa of the anal glands and establish systemic infection. Established infections were not significantly modified by the immunosuppression protocol used in this study.

KEY WORDS: Trypanosoma cruzi, Didelphis marsupialis, opossums, anal glands, cyclophosphamide
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