Peripheral nervous system involvement in human and experimental chronic American trypanosomiasis.Bull Soc Pathol Exot. 1995 Mar; 88(4):156-63.BS
An electrophysiological and histological study of the muscle and the peripheral nervous system (PNS) was carried out in chronic human American trypanosomiasis (Chagas' disease) and in an experimental Chagas' disease (Chd) mouse model. Altogether 995 patients with chronic Chd and 261 mice, experimentally infected with RA and CA-I parasite strains, were investigated. Results were compared with matched controls. Techniques employed in humans were: clinical assessment, conventional electromyography (EMG), estimated number of motor units, motor and sensory nerve conduction velocities, repetitive nerve stimulation and muscle and sural nerve biopsies. In mice conventional EMG, sciatic nerve conduction time, sciatic nerve action potential amplitude, in vitro miniature end-plate potentials (MEPPs) and end-plate potentials (EPPs) recordings, muscle, nerve and spinal cord histology and identification of cell phenotypes within the inflammatory infiltrates were the employed procedures. Out of 511 patients submitted to clinical examination, 52 disclosed signs and symptoms of mixed peripheral neuropathy. By employing electrophysiological techniques, it could be shown that about 30% of the investigated patients had one or more of the following features: diminished interference pattern, most of the remainder motor unit potentials being (MUPs) polyphasic; reduced number of functional motor units in the thenar, hypothenar, soleus and/or edb muscles; slow sensory and motor nerve conduction velocities; low sensory action potential amplitude and impairement of neuromuscular transmission. In mice, MUPs duration and amplitude were increased at later stages of the infection, nerve conduction was slow, nerve action potentials were of low amplitude, mepps were of low amplitude and double epps were frequently found. Muscle histology in humans with chronic Chd showed type I and type II grouping, atrophic angular fibers and targetoid muscle fibers. In mice perivascular mononuclear cells infiltrates, small round fibers, muscle fibers necrosis, atrophic angular fibers, type II muscle fibers grouping and grouped muscle fibers atrophy were found. Sural nerve samples showed segmental and paranodal demyelination and axonal loss. The same features were observed in mice nerves, also in this model mononuclear cells infiltrates at the nerve, dorsal root ganglia and meninges surrounding the spinal cord were observed. Muscle and nervous tissues infiltrates were mainly composed of T lymphocytes with predominance of CD8 or CD4 subsets according to the parasites strain employed for infecting the animals. These findings suggest that the skeletal muscle and the PNS may be involved in chronic American trypanosomiasis.