Applicability of the use of charcoal for the evaluation of intestinal motility in a murine model of Trypanosoma cruzi infection

 Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, remains a serious public health problem in Latin America. In relation to digestive problems, 4.5% of patients show mega syndromes (megacolon) in the chronic phase. In this article, we evaluated intestinal motility at the acute phase of T. cruzi infection through charcoal ingestion in adult mice. After infection, Swiss mice were administered an aqueous suspension of charcoal in water by gavage. Decrease in intestinal motility was determined by increased time of appearance of charcoal in the feces. The uninfected group showed a mean time of charcoal elimination of 109.0± 14.6 min throughout the assay. On the other hand, infected mice presented a significant increase in charcoal defecation time during infection. At 15 days postinfection, infected mice showed a significant increase in charcoal defecation time, 310.2±67.4 min when compared to the uninfected group, which presented 97.8±31.8 min, indicating that the T. cruzi infection interferes with intestinal motility. Our results demonstrate that the use of charcoal is an ethical and efficient procedure to evaluate the intestinal motility in the murine model of T. cruzi infection.