Author(s): Gavrilescu LC, Denkers EY
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Abstract Toxoplasma gondii is an opportunistic intracellular parasite which induces a highly strong type 1 cytokine response. The present study focuses on defining the factors influencing the outcome of infection with tachyzoites of the type I, highly lethal RH strain, relative to the type II, low virulence strain ME49. Infection with the RH strain led to widespread parasite dissemination and rapid death of mice; in contrast, mice survived low virulence strain ME49 infection, and tachyzoite dissemination was much less extensive. Furthermore, massive apoptosis and disintegration of the splenic architecture was characteristic of RH, but not ME49, infection. In addition, hyperinduction of IFN-gamma and lack of NO production were found during RH, in contrast to ME49 infection. These data demonstrate that Toxoplasma strain characteristics exert a profound effect on the host immune response and that the latter itself is a crucial determinant in parasite virulence.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism