Host immune responses to Toxoplasma gondii

Int Immunol. 2018 Mar 10;30(3):113-119. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxy004.


Toxoplasma gondii can infect homoeothermic animals including humans and cause lethal toxoplasmosis in immunocompromised individuals. When hosts are infected with T. gondii, the cells induce immune responses against T. gondii. The pathogen infection is recognized by immune sensors that directly detect T. gondii structural components, leading to production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Antigen-presenting cells such as macrophages and dendritic cells strongly activate T cells and induce development of Th1 cells and antigen-specific killer CD8 T cells. These T cells and Group 1 innate lymphoid cells are main producers of IFN-γ, which robustly stimulates cell-autonomous immunity in cells infected with T. gondii. IFN-γ-inducible effectors such as IFN-inducible GTPases, inducible nitric oxide synthase and indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase differentially play important roles in suppression of T. gondii growth and its direct killing in anti-T. gondii cell-autonomous immune responses. In this review, we will describe our current knowledge of innate, adaptive and IFN-γ-mediated cell-autonomous immunity against T. gondii infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / immunology*
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Toxoplasma / immunology*
  • Toxoplasmosis / immunology*
  • Toxoplasmosis / parasitology*


  • Interferon-gamma