Identification and validation of biomarkers to improve the control of congenital Chagas disease

Publishable summary: 

The project aims to improve the control of congenital Chagas disease (CCD) by identifying a profile of biomarkers highly associated with congenital transmission of T. cruzi and detectable in the blood circulation of T. cruzi-infected pregnant women. We propose to identify a profile of biomarkers comprising genetic single nucleotide polymorphism and differential expression of genes previously identified as candidates, as well as to investigate new biomarkers based on extracellular vesicles (EVs), microRNAs (miRNA), immunological markers and molecular features of the parasite. EVs and miRNA are emerging as important regulators of host-pathogen interactions. We will study the modulatory effect of EVs and miRNA derived either form the parasite itself or from the placenta (mainly from trophoblasts, the cells that constitute the placental barrier) on the placental T. cruzi infection and immune response and in parallel make the profile of these EVs and miRNA by proteomic and molecular approaches. Parasite and/or host EVs and miRNA will then be studied quantitatively and qualitatively in the plasma of T. cruzi-infected women having or not transmitted the parasite to their baby. We will also seek for additional biomarkers related to the maternal immune response, to the biological features and the genotype of the parasite they harbour and to the parasite load