Infection and invasion mechanisms of Trypanosoma cruzi in the congenital transmission of Chagas' disease: A proposal
Chagas' disease is produced by the haemophlagelated protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by haematophages insects such as Triatoma infestans (vinchuca). Due to vector control, congenital transmission gains importance and is responsible for the presence and expansion of this disease in non-endemic areas. The mechanisms of congenital infection are uncertain. It has been suggested that the parasite reaches the fetus through the bloodstream by crossing the placental barrier, and that congenital Chagas' disease is the result of complex interactions between the immune response, placental factors, and the parasite's characteristics. We review the cellular and molecular mechanisms of infection and invasion of the parasite and how immune and placental factors may modulate this process. Finally, we propose a possible model for the vertical transmission of Chagas' disease.