Liempi A, Castillo C, Cerda M, Droguett D, Duaso J, Barahona K, Hernandez A, Luján C, Fretes R, Härtel S, Kemmerling U
Acta Tropica, 143:47-50. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2014.12.006

Chagas disease is an endemic, neglected tropical disease in Latin America that is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. In vitro models constitute the first experimental approach to study the physiopathology of the disease and to assay potential new trypanocidal agents. Here, we report and describe clearly the use of commercial software (MATLAB(®)) to quantify T. cruzi amastigotes and infected mammalian cells (BeWo) and compared this analysis with the manual one. There was no statistically significant difference between the manual and the automatic quantification of the parasite; the two methods showed a correlation analysis r(2) value of 0.9159. The most significant advantage of the automatic quantification was the efficiency of the analysis. The drawback of this automated cell counting method was that some parasites were assigned to the wrong BeWo cell, however this data did not exceed 5% when adequate experimental conditions were chosen. We conclude that this quantification method constitutes an excellent tool for evaluating the parasite load in cells and therefore constitutes an easy and reliable ways to study parasite infectivity.