The antibody response in experimental ocular toxoplasmosis

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2006 Dec;244(12):1668-79. doi: 10.1007/s00417-006-0274-x.


Background: The dynamics of the humoral immune response in ocular toxoplasmosis (OT) are poorly understood. We therefore investigated this process in a rabbit model of the disease.

Materials and methods: Of 24 infection-naive adult rabbits, 12 were left untreated and 12 were systematically infected with 5,000 tachyzoites of the non-cystforming BK strain of Toxoplasma gondii. Three months later, all rabbits were inoculated transvitreally with 5,000 tachyzoites of Toxoplasma gondii. Paired samples of aqueous humor and serum were analyzed temporally for their total and specific IgG contents.

Results: In infection-naïve rabbits with primary OT, specific IgG reached detectable levels in the inoculated eyes between 5 and 15 days after inoculation. In infection-immunized rabbits with secondary OT, a significant increase in specific IgG was regularly detected after 5 days. The antibody ratio C was diagnostic (> or =3) from day 15 onward in primary OT and from day 21 onward in secondary OT. In the uninfected partner eyes, the antibody ratio C was found sporadically diagnostic from day 15 onward in primary OT, but at no time in secondary OT. Specific IgG persisted both locally and in the serum until the end of the monitoring period (100 days).

Conclusion: Our findings relating to the rabbit model of OT reveal three features of clinical relevance: a diagnostic window precedes the establishment of a humoral immune response; specific antibodies persist long after the cessation of disease activity; and in primary OT, the antibody ratio C may also increase in the uninfected partner eye.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood*
  • Antibody Formation / physiology
  • Aqueous Humor / immunology*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis*
  • Male
  • Rabbits
  • Toxoplasma / immunology*
  • Toxoplasmosis, Ocular / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Immunoglobulin G