Previous studies have shown that infection with the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi (Chagas' disease) is associated with genetic components [human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes and T-cell receptor (TCR) genes]. We studied the TCR Vβ repertoire of peripheral blood lymphocytes of 23 unrelated serologically positive subjects using reverse transcriptasepolymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The patients, previously tested for HLA genotypes, were clinically classified as asymptomatic, arrhythmic and cardiopathic patients. Statistical analysis showed the significant increment of the Vβ7 family in chagasics with arrhythmia compared with asymptomatic and cardiopathic patients, indicating that the frequency of this family is variable in different clinical forms of the disease and possibly that these T cells might be a marker of the progression of Chagas' disease. Based on the calculation of a Δ score the order of variability in the TCR repertoire was: patients with heart failure > asymptomatic > arrhythmic patients. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) of the individual may influence the use of particular V genes in T-cell response to foreign antigens. We found a significant increase of the Vβ7 family in arrhythmic patients who were DRB1*01 DQB1*0501 DPB1*0401, a marker associated with susceptibility to cardiac damage in Chagas' disease. If confirmed by further studies in a larger cohort, a possible association between the TCR Vβ repertoire and the MHC haplotype of chagasic patients could be postulated.
- Chagas' disease