Wild type, TNFRp55(-/-), iNOS(-/-) and IFN-gamma(-/-) mice were infected with Toxoplasma gondii strain ME-49, and the central nervous system (CNS), lungs, liver, spleen, heart and kidneys were examined for the presence of parasites expressing tachyzoite-specific (SAG-1) and bradyzoite-specific (BAG-5) antigens. During the acute phase of infection, the peripheral organs, but not the CNS, of the IFN-gamma(-/-) mice are heavily parasitized by tachyzoites and there are no signs of parasites expressing BAG-5. In contrast, the tissues from TNFRp55(-/-) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS)(-/-) mice, mainly the CNS, presented high numbers of parasites expressing SAG-1 and/or BAG-5. Tachyzoite transformation into bradyzoite and cyst development was shown to be normal in the tissues from TNFRp55(-/-) and iNOS(-/-) mice, as indicated by the high numbers of BAG-5/PAS positive cysts. Consistently, reactivation of infection in IFN-gamma(-/-) mice was rapid and characterized by a dramatic increase in SAG-1, contrasting with slow course in the TNFRp55(-/-) or iNOS(-/-) mice associated with a relatively small increase in SAG-1- and/or BAG-5-positive parasites. In conclusion, our results suggest that the control of multiplication of tachyzoites is largely dependent on endogenous IFN-gamma with partial involvement of TNFRp55 and iNOS. In contrast, induction of BAG-5 expression and cyst formation during toxoplasmosis seems to be dependent on IFN-gamma, but independent of TNFRp55 and iNOS functions.