Severe destruction of intrinsic cardiac nerves has been reported in experimental acute Chagas myocarditis, followed by extensive regeneration during the chronic phase of the infection. To further study this subject, the sympathetic and para-sympathetic intracardiac nerves of mice infected with a virulent Trypanosoma cruzi
strain were analyzed, during acute and chronic infection, by means of histological, histochemical, morphometric and electron microscopic techniques. No evidences of destructive changes were apparent. Histochemical demonstration for acetylcholinesterase and catecholamines did not reveal differences in the amount and distribution of intracardiac nerves, in mice with acute and chronic Chagas myocarditis or in non-infected controls. Mild, probably reversible ultrastructural neural changes were occasionally present, especially during acute myocarditis. Intrinsic nerves appeared as the least involved cardiac structure during the course of experimental Chagas disease in mice.