Parasitol Int. 2007 Jan 24; [Epub ahead of print]
Maternal-fetal transmission of Toxoplasma gondii in interferon-gamma deficient pregnant mice
Shiono Y, Mun HS, He N, Nakazaki Y, Fang H, Furuya M, Aosai F, Yano A
Department of Infection and Host Defense, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.
Toxoplasma gondii infection is generally asymptomatic in immunocompetent persons but can be life-threatening in immunocompromised persons and for fetuses in the case of maternal-fetal transmission. The effect of interferon (IFN)-gamma, which plays a crucial role in the protective immunity against T. gondii infection, on maternal-fetal transmission of T. gondii was analyzed by quantitative competitive polymerase chain reaction targeting T. gondii-specific SAG1 gene. T. gondii loads were obvious in uterus and placenta of wild type (WT) C57BL/6 (B6, susceptible strain) but not BALB/c (resistant strain) pregnant mice. Higher levels of T. gondii were detected in uterus and placenta of IFN-gamma knock-out (GKO) B6 and BALB/c than in those of WT mice. Furthermore, T. gondii was detected in fetus of GKO B6 but not GKO BALB/c, WT B6, or WT BALB/c mice. Thus, not only IFN-gamma but also genetic susceptibility to T. gondii infection was important for the protective immunity of maternal-fetal transmission of T. gondii to fetus via placenta. T. gondii-infected WT mice displayed a low delivery rate with high IFN-gamma production, whereas infected GKO mice did not. Additionally, mean body weight of neonates from T. gondii-infected GKO BALB/c pregnant mice was significantly lower than that of unaborted neonates from WT BALB/c pregnant mice, suggesting the effects of T. gondii infection on intrauterine growth retardation of fetus in pregnant GKO mice.
PMID: 17307382 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]