Effect of immunosuppressive drug regimens on acute and chronic murine toxoplasmosis

Parasitol Res. 1996;82(8):681-6. doi: 10.1007/s004360050185.


To evaluate the potential risk of dissemination or reactivation of toxoplasmosis following the administration of immunosuppressive therapy we examined the effect of corticoids, azathioprine, and cyclosporine given alone or in combination on the course of murine acute and chronic toxoplasmic infection. Swiss Webster mice were infected perorally with a high-level inoculum of cysts of the C strain of Toxoplasma gondii. The evolution of the kinetics of parasite loads in the blood, brain, and lungs of infected and immunosuppressed mice was then sequentially followed. In mice with orally acquired infections initiated 2 days after the beginning of drug treatment, immunosuppression led to the persistence of parasites, especially in the lungs, which was most marked in mice treated with azathioprine and/or cortisol acetate. Administration of immunosuppressive therapy in mice previously infected with T. gondii resulted in a brief resurgence of parasite loads when treatment was started early after infection. Finally, under our experimental conditions we found that the immunosuppressive drugs that were given altered the natural course of infection with a prolonged persistence of parasites in the lungs but did not significantly affect parasite loads in the brain or lead to disseminated infection with detectable parasitemia.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Hydrocortisone / therapeutic use
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Toxoplasma* / isolation & purification
  • Toxoplasmosis / drug therapy*
  • Toxoplasmosis / parasitology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • hydrocortisone acetate
  • Cyclosporine
  • Azathioprine
  • Hydrocortisone