Résumé : To better understand the role of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) during Trypanosoma cruzi infection in BALB/c mice, we have investigated the kinetics of circulating tumor necrosis factor (TNF), soluble TNF receptor 1 (sTNR1), and sTNFR2 levels, as well as the interactions between such factors, in relation to parasitemia, cachexia, and mortality of acutely infected animals. Our data show that the parasitemic phase of T. cruzi infection in mice is associated with high levels of circulating TNF and sTNFR2, resulting in the formation of cytokine-receptor complexes and some degree of neutralization of TNF bioactivity. Although sTNR2 levels always exceeded TNF levels, low sTNFR/TNF circulating ratios were associated with cachexia in all infected mice, whereas the lowest ratios were observed in dying animals harboring the highest parasitemia. We also studied the modulation of sTNFR/TNF ratios induced by anti-TNF antibodies administered to infected animals and their consequences on the outcome of the infection. The injection of anti-TNF monoclonal antibody (MAb) TN3 into infected mice resulted in a paradoxical overproduction of TNF (associated with a higher parasitemia), lowered the sTNFR/TNF circulating ratios, and considerably worsened cachexia and mortality of animals. Another anti-TNF MAb (1F3F3) decreased the in vivo availability of TNF as well as parasite levels and reduced cachexia. Altogether, such results highlight that, besides playing a beneficial role early in infection, TNF also triggers harmful effects in the parasitemic phase, which are limited by the in vivo simultaneous endogenous production of soluble receptors.