infection may be caused by different strains with distinct discrete typing units (DTUs) that can result in variable clinical forms of chronic Chagas disease. The present study evaluates the immune response and cardiac lesions in dogs experimentally infected with different T. cruzi
strains with distinct DTUs, namely, the Colombian (Col) and Y strains of TcI and TcII DTU, respectively. During infection with the Col strain, increased levels of alanine aminotransferase, erythrocytes, haematocrit and haemoglobin were observed. In addition, CD8+
T-lymphocytes isolated from the peripheral blood produced higher levels of interleukin (IL)-4. The latter suggests that during the acute phase, infection with the Col strain may remain unnoticed by circulating mononuclear cells. In the chronic phase, a significant increase in the number of inflammatory cells was detected in the right atrium. Conversely, infection with the Y strain led to leucopoenia, thrombopoenia, inversion of the ratio of CD4+
T-lymphocytes and alterations in monocyte number. The Y strain stimulated the production of interferon-γ by CD4+
T-lymphocytes and IL-4 by CD8+
T-cells. In the chronic phase, significant heart inflammation and fibrosis were observed, demonstrating that strains of different DTUs interact differently with the host.