An ultrastructural study of the early development and tissue cyst formation of Toxoplasma gondii in the brains of mice

Parasitol Res. 1987;73(6):483-91. doi: 10.1007/BF00535321.


The ultrastructural features of the early development and tissue cyst formation of Toxoplasma gondii were examined in the brains of mice at various intervals from 7 days to 22 months post inoculation (PI). At 11 days PI toxoplasmas, with the ultrastructural features of the proliferative (endozoite) form, were identified undergoing multiplication within both inflammatory and neural cells. Early tissue cyst formation was also observed, predominantly within neurons. By 21 days PI the proliferative forms had disappeared and only developing tissue cysts containing densely packed cystozoites were present. The proportion of dividing cystozoites decreased with increasing size and age of the cysts. The wall of the tissue cyst developed as an adaptation of the lining of the parasitophorous vacuole. In the majority of older cysts, numerous tubular structures were present beneath the cyst wall. All the cysts observed were retained within intact host cells. The only morphological change with increasing age was that a proportion of the older cysts contained loosely packed cystozoites in an electron lucent ground substance. There was no evidence of any degenerative changes within the cystozoites.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / parasitology*
  • Brain / ultrastructure
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Toxoplasma / growth & development*
  • Toxoplasma / ultrastructure
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / parasitology*
  • Toxoplasmosis, Animal / pathology