Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Perturbed T cell IL-7 receptor signaling in chronic Chagas disease.

PMID 25769928


We have previously demonstrated that immune responses in subjects with chronic Trypanosoma cruzi infection display features common to other persistent infections with signs of T cell exhaustion. Alterations in cytokine receptor signal transduction have emerged as one of the cell-intrinsic mechanisms of T cell exhaustion. In this study, we performed an analysis of the expression of IL-7R components (CD127 and CD132) on CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells and evaluated IL-7-dependent signaling events in patients at different clinical stages of chronic chagasic heart disease. Subjects with no signs of cardiac disease showed a decrease in CD127(+)CD132(+) cells and a reciprocal gain of CD127(-)CD132(+) in CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells compared with either patients exhibiting heart enlargement or uninfected controls. T. cruzi infection, in vitro, was able to stimulate the downregulation of CD127 and the upregulation of CD132 on T cells. IL-7-induced phosphorylation of STAT5 as well as Bcl-2 and CD25 expression were lower in T. cruzi-infected subjects compared with uninfected controls. The serum levels of IL-7 were also increased in chronic chagasic patients. The present study highlights perturbed IL-7/IL-7R T cell signaling through STAT5 as a potential mechanism of T cell exhaustion in chronic T. cruzi infection.