Host cell apoptosis plays an important immune regulatory role in parasitic infections. Infection of mice with Trypanosoma cruzi
, the causative agent of Chagas disease, induces lymphocyte apoptosis. In addition, phagocytosis of apoptotic cells stimulates the growth of T. cruzi
inside host macrophages. In spite of progress made in this area, the importance of apoptosis in the pathogenesis of Chagas disease remains unclear. Here we review the evidence of apoptosis in mice and humans infected with T. cruzi
. We also discuss the mechanisms by which apoptosis can influence underlying host responses and tissue damage during Chagas disease progression.