Ascorbate variations and dehydroascorbate reductase activity in Trypanosoma cruzi epimastigotes and trypomastigotes

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Albrecht M.
Arévalo J.
Clark D.
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Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas' disease, has been considered for many years as an organism with limited capability to metabolize hydrogen peroxide (H202) [1]. This was supported by undetectable levels of peroxide-removing enzymes (catalase, glutathione peroxidase) and its high sensitivity to drugs like fl-lapachone and nifurtimox that generate superoxide anion (02-) and H202 through intracellular nitroreductases [2]. Paradoxically, T. cruzi parasites are naturally exposed to endogenous and exogenously generated reactive oxygen species through their life cycle. Microsomal and mitochondrial fractions, as well as fumarate reductase from T. cruzi can generate 02- and H202 [2,3]. Furthermore, the parasite can eventually be exposed to an oxidative stress when taken up by macrophages [4,5].
This work was supported in part by a grant from the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologla (CONCYTEC). We thank W. Behrens and C. Santa Cruz for helpful advice on HPLC analysis and T. cruzi culture, and H. Guerra and C. Guerra for critically reading the manuscript.
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dehydroascorbic acid reductase