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  • An exacerbated metabolism and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species contribute to mitochondrial alterations and apoptosis in CD4 T cells during the acute phase of Trypanosoma cruzi infection.

An exacerbated metabolism and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species contribute to mitochondrial alterations and apoptosis in CD4 T cells during the acute phase of Trypanosoma cruzi infection.

Free radical biology & medicine (2020-12-29)
Y Ana, J D Rojas Marquez, L Fozzatti, R E Baigorrí, C Marin, B A Maletto, F M Cerbán, R Radi, L Piacenza, C C Stempin
ABSTRACT

Chagas disease caused by Trypanosoma cruzi parasite is an endemic infection in America. It is well known that T. cruzi causes a strong immunosuppression during the acute phase of infection. However, it is not clear whether T. cruzi infection is related to metabolic alterations in CD4 T cells that prevent downstream effector function. Here, we evaluated the CD4 T cell metabolic and mitochondrial profiles from non-infected (NI), acute phase (AP) and chronic phase (CP) T. cruzi infected mice. CD4 T cells from all groups showed increased glucose uptake after stimulation. Moreover, the bioenergetic analysis revealed a rise in glycolysis and a higher oxidative metabolism in CD4 T cells from the AP. These cells showed increased proton leak and uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) expression that correlated with mitochondrial ROS (mROS) accumulation, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) depolarization and expression of PD-1. In addition, CD4 T cells with mitochondrial alteration displayed an activated phenotype, and were less functional and more prone to apoptosis. In contrast, mitochondrial alterations were not observed during in vivo activation of CD4 T cells in a model of OVA-immunization. The Mn-superoxide dismutase (SOD2) expression, which is involved in mROS detoxification, was increased during the AP and CP of infection. Remarkably, the apoptosis observed in CD4 T cells with MMP depolarization was prevented by incubation with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). Thus, our results showed that infection triggered an exacerbated metabolism together with mROS production in CD4 T cells from the AP of infection. However, antioxidant availability may not be sufficient to avoid mitochondrial alterations rendering these cells more susceptible to apoptosis. Our investigation is the first to demonstrate an association between a disturbed metabolism and an impaired CD4 T cell response during T. cruzi infection.

MATERIALS
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