Colon non tumor
Infectious colitis (specific microorganisms)
Chagas disease (trypanosomiasis)

Author: Hanni Gulwani, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 4 January 2017, last major update May 2013

Copyright: (c) 2003-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: colon chagas disease
Cite this page: Chagas disease (trypanosomiasis). website. Accessed September 19th, 2017.
Definition / general
  • Exists only in North, South and Central America
  • Caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, transmitted to humans by blood-sucking triatomine bugs, blood transfusion or organ transplant (MMWR 2002;51:210)
  • Invades bowel wall and destroys enteric plexuses; may cause toxic megacolon (life-threatening complication of markedly dilated colon, abdominal distention and variable fever, pain or shock); may destroy interstitial cells of Cajal (Pathophysiology 2006;13:71)
  • Not associated with colon carcinoma (Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo 2003;45:91)
  • Typing is possible for epidemiologic studies (Int J Parasitol 2005;35:411)
Clinical features
  • Development of megacolon after acute infection with T cruzi is associated with maintained invasion of enteric ganglia with cytotoxic T cells and loss of muscle innervation (Hum Pathol 2007;38:1256)
  • Patients with chagasic megacolon have abnormalities of several components of enteric nervous system (Am J Surg Pathol 2007;31:460)
  • Significantly reduced number of interstitial cells of Cajal in chagasic megacolon (CM) patients may contribute pathophysiology (Virchows Arch 2012;461:385)
  • GFAP+ enteric glial cells prevent dilatation of the organ and protect the enteric nervous system against the inflammatory process and neuronal destruction, preventing the destruction from expanding to unaffected areas of the colon in chagasic points (Hum Pathol 2009;40:244)
Diagrams / tables

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Life cycle

Gross images

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Microscopic (histologic) description
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Blood smears

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