Infection with Toxoplasma gondii RH and Prugniaud strains in mice, rats and nude rats: kinetics of infection in blood and tissues related to pathology in acute and chronic infection

Pathol Res Pract. 1999;195(7):475-85. doi: 10.1016/S0344-0338(99)80051-X.


Since mice and rats are the most studied models of experimental toxoplasmosis, the aim of this work was to analyze the outcome of Toxoplasma infection in mice, rats and congenitally athymic nude rats; for this purpose, the parasitic load in different organs and the anatomic-pathological characteristics of infection were investigated in these animals. The data obtained after infection with two different strains and stages of Toxoplasma gondii (RH tachyzoites and Prugniaud cysts) concerned the following organs: brain, mesenteric lymph nodes, blood, spleen, heart, lungs, diaphragm and liver. In Fischer rats, the infection with either the Prugniaud or the RH strains displayed similar characteristics: after a peak in the parasite load, a complete disappearance of parasites was observed, except in the brain of Prugniaud strain-infected rats where toxoplasmas were evidenced throughout the experiment. In OF1 mice, where infection by the RH tachyzoites was lethal, infection with the Prugniaud strain led to survival; the parasitic burden peaked in the different organs and was then undetectable, except in the brain where toxoplasmas were still present during the chronic phase. Like mice, nude rats did not survive to the RH infection. Interestingly, for all the animals the observed histopathological changes in the infected organs, although more or less obvious in the acute phase, were not very severe in almost all cases. For instance, mice, although more susceptible to infection than rats, did not present more severe lesions. They consisted in a discrete inflammation with some focal areas of necrosis in some organs such as brain, liver and heart. Our results support the assumption that rats and nude rats constitute interesting experimental models relevant to either human acute toxoplasmosis, chronic toxoplasmosis, or disseminated toxoplasmosis in AIDS patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Brain / parasitology
  • Brain / pathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diaphragm / parasitology
  • Diaphragm / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Heart / parasitology
  • Liver / parasitology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Lung / parasitology
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lymph Nodes / parasitology
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Rats, Nude
  • Spleen / parasitology
  • Spleen / pathology
  • Toxoplasma / growth & development
  • Toxoplasma / isolation & purification
  • Toxoplasma / pathogenicity*
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / blood
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / parasitology*
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / pathology*