We have previously demonstrated selection favoring the JG strain of Trypanosoma cruzi
in hearts of BALB/c mice that were chronically infected with an equal mixture of the monoclonal JG strain and a clone of the Colombian strain, Col1.7G2. To evaluate whether cell invasion efficiency drives this selection, we infected primary cultures of BALB/c cardiomyocytes using these same T. cruzi
populations. Contrary to expectation, Col1.7G2 parasites invaded heart cell cultures in higher numbers than JG parasites; however, intracellular multiplication of JG parasites was more efficient than that of Col1.7G2 parasites. This phenomenon was only observed for cardiomyocytes and not for cultured Vero cells. Double infections (Col1.7G2 + JG) showed similar results. Even though invasion might influence tissue selection, our data strongly suggest that intracellular development is important to determine parasite tissue tropism.