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DHEA treatment enhances the immune response to Trypanosoma cruzi


DHEA treatment enhances the immune response to Trypanosoma cruzi.

According to recent research from Brazil, "The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the immunomodulator dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in the treatment of Trypanosoma cruzi infection and the possible biochemistry alterations in male and female Wistar rats.

"DHEA, also known as the steroid of multiple actions, has attracted distinct medical areas. Prior studies show that DHEA enhances immune response against a wide range of viral, bacterial and parasitic pathogens. Furthermore, administration of DHEA seems to protect animals against obesity and diabetes."

"Male animals subcutaneous treated with 40 mg/kg body weight/day of DHEA displayed a significant reduction in blood parasites during parasitemia peak, when compared to untreated animals (p0.05).

"Sexual dimorphism was also observed, since females displayed lesser parasitemia levels compared to male groups treated (p>0.05) and untreated (p<0.001). Enhanced leucocytes number was observed in control females when compared to control males (p<0.05)," wrote C.D. dos Santos and colleagues at the University of Sao Paulo.

"DHEA treatment did not trigger any significant alterations in leucocytes levels (p>0.05). DHEA administration induced an enhanced number of macrophages in infected males (p<0.01). DHEA administration causes a decrease in glucose (p<0.001)," the authors reported.

"Results of cholesterol and triglyceride levels were not statistically significant (p>0.05) during the treatment," dos Santos continued.

"These results suggest that DHEA treatment enhances the immune response as evidenced here by reduced levels of parasites. Upregulation of the immune system by exogenous DHEA may be useful in the treatment of American tripanosomiasis," investigators suggested.

dos Santos and colleagues published their study in Acta Tropica (Trypanosoma cruzi: The effects of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) treatment during experimental infection. Acta Trop, 2005;95(2):109-115).

For additional information, contact C.D. dos Santos, University of Sao Paulo, Parasitology Laboratory, Dept. Anal Clinic Toxicology & Bromatol, FCFRP, Avenue Cafe S-No, BR-14040903 Ribeirao Preto, SP, Brazil.

Publisher contact information for the journal Acta Tropica is: Elsevier Science BV, PO Box 211, 1000 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Keywords: Ribeirao Preto, Brazil, Trypanosoma cruzi, DHEA, Treatment, Parasitemia, Immune Response, Dehydroepiandrosterone. This article was prepared by Anti-Infectives Week editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2005, Anti-Infectives Week via

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