Arginine kinase (AK) is an enzyme present in various invertebrates, as well as in some trypanosomatids such as T. cruzi, the etiological agent that causes Chagas disease. In invertebrates, this protein acts as an allergen inducing an IgE-type humoral immune response. Since AK is a highly conserved protein, we decided to study whether patients with chronic Chagas disease (CCD) produce specific antibodies against T. cruzi AK (TcAK). Plasma from patients with CCD, with and without cardiac alterations and non-infected individuals were evaluated for the presence of anti-TcAK IgG and IgE antibodies by ELISA, including detection of specific IgG subclasses. Our results showed that the levels of specific anti-TcAK IgG and IgE were different between infected and non-infected individuals, but comparable between those with different clinical manifestations. Interestingly, anti-TcAK IgG4 antibodies associated with IgE-mediated allergenic processes were also increased in CCD patients. Finally, we found that several of the predicted B cell epitopes in TcAK matched allergenic peptides previously described for its homologues in other organisms. Our results revealed for the first time a parasite’s specific IgE antibody target and suggest that TcAK could contribute to delineate an inefficient B cell response by prompting a bias towards a Th2 profile. These findings also shed light on a potential allergenic response in the context of T. cruzi infection.
Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.