Two Trypanosoma cruzi isolates, TCR-4 from Costa Rica and UES-1 from El Salvador, were studied in vitro to compare their infectivity or resistance and intracellular replication in myocardial cells in three strains of mice and rats: NGP white mice, C3 H mice and Sprague Dowley rats. Myocardial cells were cultured on coverslips at 37 º C in a humid 10 % CO2 atmosphere and then infected at a ratio of one tripomastigote per cell. Samples were studied after 24, 72, 96 and 120 h of infection to determine parasite infection capacity and intracellular multiplication. Both parasites had the highest infection capacity in C3 H mice, followed by NGP mice cells with a very low infection rate. Lastly, almost no Trypanosoma cruzi multiplication was observed in Sprague Dowley rats, suggesting a strong natural resistance in this animal to both strains of the parasite. The UES-1 isolate presented higher multiplication and greater inva-sion than the TCR-4 strain, showing greater virulence of UES-1 in heart cells, at least in vitro.
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