Stage conversion of Toxoplasma gondii in mouse brain during infection and immunodepression

Parasitol Res. 1996;82(1):28-31. doi: 10.1007/BF03035408.


The kinetics and pattern of expression of bradyzoite-specific proteins were studied in mouse brain during infection with Toxoplasma gondii. Parasites found in the brain 6 days after ingestion of cysts were expressing only tachyzoite-specific proteins (anti-SAG1 antibodies being used as a marker). Bradyzoite-specific protein (Pb36) expression was first found after 9 days in vacuoles containing mixed parasites simultaneously expressing SAG1 and Pb36 or cysts containing parasites expressing only the bradyzoite marker. Reactivation of toxoplasmosis was studied in mouse brain using corticosteroids for immunosuppression. Parasites expressing SAG1 were first found 6 days after the beginning of treatment, but a very heterogeneous pattern was found throughout the study. We simultaneously found vacuoles containing parasites expressing only SAG1 or containing intermediate stages or cysts containing parasites expressing only bradyzoite proteins. A striking observation was the multiplication of cysts in foci, suggesting that the immune suppression triggered the release of parasites from preexisting cysts but that the factors inducing bradyzoite development remained fully effective in driving parasites into this pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / parasitology*
  • Dexamethasone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism*
  • Toxoplasma / drug effects*
  • Toxoplasma / isolation & purification
  • Toxoplasma / metabolism
  • Toxoplasmosis / metabolism*
  • Toxoplasmosis / parasitology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • dexamethasone 21-phosphate
  • Dexamethasone