The host-parasite relationship of Toxoplasma gondii in the brains of chronically infected mice

Virchows Arch A Pathol Anat Histopathol. 1987;411(1):39-43. doi: 10.1007/BF00734512.


The host parasite relationship in the brains of asymptomatic mice chronically infected with Toxoplasma gondii was examined at 3, 6 and 12 months post-infection (PI) using electron microscopy. The parasites were located in large numbers within tissue cysts which ranged in size from 10-50 microns in diameter. The cysts were predominantly found in the grey matter. The toxoplasms were enclosed by a cyst wall consisting of a membrane, with irregular invaginations, and an underlying layer of homogeneous osmiophilic material. A detailed examination of 50 cysts revealed that all the cysts were present within intact host cells irrespective of their size or the period PI. The majority of host cells could be positively identified as neurons by the presence of synapses. No extracellular cysts were observed. It is probable that the intracellular location of the cysts protects them from recognition and attack by the host immune system.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / parasitology*
  • Cytoplasm / parasitology
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neurons / parasitology
  • Toxoplasma / isolation & purification*
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / parasitology*