Free access
Vet. Res.
Volume 40, Number 2, March-April 2009
Adaptative strategies of vector-borne pathogens to vectorial transmission
Number of page(s) 23
Published online 03 March 2009
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2009) 40:26
How to cite this article: Vet. Res. (2009) 40:26
DOI: 10.1051/vetres/2009009


Trypanosoma cruzi: adaptation to its vectors and its hosts

François Noireau1, 2, Patricio Diosque3 and Ana Maria Jansen4

1  UR 016, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Montpellier, France
2  Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Mayor San Simón, Cochabamba, Bolivia
3  Unidad de Epidemiología Molecular, Instituto de Patología Experimental, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Nacional de Salta, Salta, Argentina, and Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Argentina
4  Laboratório de Biologia de Tripanosomatídeos, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Av. Brasil 4365, PO Box 926, Rio de Janeiro, 21040-360, RJ, Brasil

Received 16 July 2008; accepted 26 February 2009; published online 3 March 2009

Abstract - American trypanosomiasis is a parasitic zoonosis that occurs throughout Latin America. The etiological agent, Trypanosoma cruzi, is able to infect almost all tissues of its mammalian hosts and spreads in the environment in multifarious transmission cycles that may or not be connected. This biological plasticity, which is probably the result of the considerable heterogeneity of the taxon, exemplifies a successful adaptation of a parasite resulting in distinct outcomes of infection and a complex epidemiological pattern. In the 1990s, most endemic countries strengthened national control programs to interrupt the transmission of this parasite to humans. However, many obstacles remain to the effective control of the disease. Current knowledge of the different components involved in elaborate system that is American trypanosomiasis (the protozoan parasite T. cruzi, vectors Triatominae and the many reservoirs of infection), as well as the interactions existing within the system, is still incomplete. The Triatominae probably evolve from predatory reduvids in response to the availability of vertebrate food source. However, the basic mechanisms of adaptation of some of them to artificial ecotopes remain poorly understood. Nevertheless, these adaptations seem to be associated with a behavioral plasticity, a reduction in the genetic repertoire and increasing developmental instability.

Key words: Trypanosoma cruzi / Triatominae / mammalian host / vectorial transmission / adaptative strategies

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2009