Trypanosoma evansi: Pharmacological evidence of a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

R. Portillo, G. Bruges, D. Delgado, M. Betancourt, A. Mijares

Research output: Articles / NotesScientific Articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The role of calcium and its relevance have been deeply revised with respect to trypanosomatids, as the mechanism by which calcium enters trypanosomes was, until now, not well understood. There is evidence supporting the presence of a nAChR in another member of the trypanosomatidae family, Trypanosoma cruzi, these receptors being one entry path to calcium ions. The aims of this work were to determine if there was a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) in Trypanosoma evansi, and to subsequently perform a partial pharmacological characterization of this receptor.After being loaded with FURA-2AM, individual cells of T. evansi, were exposed to cholinergic compounds, and the cells displayed a dose-dependent response to carbachol. This observation indicated that a cholinergic receptor may be present in T. evansi. Although a dose-dependent response to muscarine could not be demonstrated, nicotine could promote an incremental dose-dependent response. The relative potency of this specific agonist of nAChR is in agreement with previous reports. The estimated affinity values were a Kd1 value of 29.6±5.72nM and a Kd2 value of 315.9±26.6nM, which is similar to the Kd value reported for the α4 nicotinic receptor. The Hill coefficients were determined to be an n1 of 1.2±0.3 and an n2 of 4.2±1.3. Finally, our calculations indicated that there are about 1020 receptors in each T. evansi parasite, which is approximately 15-fold lower than the number reported in Torpedo californica electric cells. These results suggest the presence of a nAChR in T. evansi, which is able to bind nicotinic ligands and induce calcium signals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium internal concentration
  • Cholinergic compounds
  • Nicotinic receptors
  • Trypanosoma evansi
  • α-Bungarotoxin binding assays


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