Résumé : The conditions and mechanisms of congenital transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi remain largely unknown. In the present study, we compared the parasitic loads and the immune responses of pregnant T. cruzi-infected women who transmitted parasites to their fetus ("M+B+ mothers") with those of such women who did not transmit parasites to their fetus ("M+B- mothers"). M+B+ mothers had a higher frequency of positive results of hemoculture for T. cruzi than did M+B- mothers, in association with depressed production of parasite-specific interferon- gamma by blood cells that persisted after delivery. In contrast, the production of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, and IL-10 and transforming growth factor- beta 1 was similar between both groups of infected mothers, after stimulation with T. cruzi lysate. Flow cytometric analysis showed that T cells and monocytes of M+B+ mothers were less activated than were those of M+B- mothers. Altogether, these results indicate that congenital transmission of T. cruzi is associated with high parasitic loads and peripheral deficient immunological responses in mothers.