Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 10th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Push Against Parasites - II Stressed Out

Raising antioxidant levels in Chagas disease reduces parasite growth

15 July 2021

Stressed Out

Endemic to South and Central America, and thought to affect around 8 million people worldwide, Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, usually transmitted by blood-sucking bugs. Infection with T. cruzi causes oxidative stress in cells, a phenomenon characterised by an increase in harmful molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS), beyond the cells’ capacity to detoxify. This ultimately disrupts proteins and DNA, as in these infected cells (pictured, with parasites in green), where red highlights chemical evidence of DNA damage. In a recent study, researchers tracked signs of DNA damage over the course of infection in cultured human cells, to better understand the relationship between the parasite and oxidative stress. T. cruzi appears to benefit from higher levels of ROS; several treatments designed to raise antioxidant levels, and thus decrease the amount of ROS, actually reduced parasite growth inside cells, suggesting new avenues to explore for possible therapies.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.