Data_Sheet_1_Circulating T Follicular Helper Cell Abnormalities Associated to Different Clinical Forms of Chronic Chagas Disease.pdf
Multiple perturbations of the immune response affecting a range of cells have been reported in Trypanosoma cruzi-infected individuals and associated to clinical manifestations of chronic Chagas disease. There is a paucity of knowledge about the role of T follicular helper (Tfh) cells in this infection. Here, we sought to characterize circulating Tfh (cTfh) cells in chronic Chagas disease patients and to identify potential associations with disease severity in humans. cTfh cells were characterized by flow cytometry in freshly isolated PBMCs from 7 T. cruzi-infected asymptomatic patients (ASYMP), 5 patients with chronic chagasic dilated cardiomyopathy (CCC) and 8 healthy controls, using antibodies against chemokine receptors CXCR5, CXCR3, CCR6, and CCR7. Our results showed significant expansion of CD4+CD45RO+CXCR5+CCR6+ cells in ASYMP and CCC patients, along with a contraction of CD4+CD45RO+CXCR5+CXCR3-CCR6- (cTfh2) cells. ASYMP patients further exhibited decreased CD4+CD45RO+CXCR5+CXCR3+CCR6- (cTfh1) cells and expanded CD4+CD45RO+CXCR5+CXCR3-CCR6+ (cTfh17) cells while CCC patients exhibited significantly increased frequencies of CD4+CD45RO+CXCR5+CCR7+ cells. Linear regression analysis revealed a positive trend of CD4+CD45RO+CXCR5+CXCR3+CCR6+ (cTfh1/17) cells and negative trends of cTfh1 and cTfh2 cells as disease was more severe. There was no correlation between the frequencies of cTfh cells and circulating CD19+IgD-IgG+ cells or serum levels of T. cruzi-specific IgG. These results demonstrate that the cTfh compartment of humans chronically infected with T. cruzi comprises expanded CCR6-expressing cells and reduced cTfh2 cells. The association of discrete phenotypic changes in cTfh subsets with different clinical forms suggests the potential contribution of T follicular helper cells to Chagas heart disease progression.
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