Griemberg G

Investigation Line: 


Anti-native DNA antibodies can be detected by indirect immunofluorescence assay with Crithidia luciliae, displaying an annular image due to a kinetoplast containing double stranded DNA. Other structures such as membrane, flagellum and basal corpuscle can be stained as well, showing what is called atypical fluorescent images. As C. luciliae belongs to the Trypanosomatidae family, which include the human pathogens Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania spp., it was considered that these atypical images could be caused by cross-reactions. Serological studies for Chagas' disease were performed in 105 serum samples displaying atypical images. Sixty four percent of the samples from non endemic and 78.3% from endemic areas for Chagas' disease showed fluorescence in both, membrane and flagellum (joint image). Fifty samples from normal blood donors and 57 samples from patients with conective tissue diseases were tested with C. luciliae. None of them presented the joint image except for two patients with lupus who were also chagasic. In addition, 54 samples from chagasic patients were studied and all of them presented the joint image. We also studied 46 samples from patients with leishmaniasis from whom 28 were coinfected with T. cruzi. The joint image was observed in 88.0% of the samples with leishmaniasis and in 89.3% of the co-infected samples. The results suggest that C. luciliae could be used as an economical, and of low risk, alternative substrate for the serological diagnosis of Chagas' disease, even though it does not discriminate for Leishmania spp. infection. This study also suggests that whenever atypical images are observed in C. luciliae during the search for anti-DNA antibodies, it would be convenient to submit the patient to clinical and serological tests for the diagnosis of leishmaniosis and Chagas' disease.