J Vis Exp. 2009 Nov 3;(33). pii: 1420. doi: 10.3791/1420.
Obtaining Highly Purified Toxoplasma gondii Oocysts by a Discontinuous Cesium Chloride Gradient
Staggs SE, See MJ, Dubey JP, Villegas EN.
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular protozoan pathogen that commonly infects humans. It is a well characterized apicomplexan associated with causing food- and water-borne disease outbreaks. The definitive host is the feline species where sexual replication occurs resulting in the development of the highly infectious and environmentally resistant oocyst. Infection occurs via ingestion of tissue cysts from contaminated meat or oocysts from soil or water. Infection is typically asymptomatic in healthy individuals, but results in a life-long latent infection that can reactivate causing toxoplasmic encephalitis and death if the individual becomes immunocompromised. Meat contaminated with T. gondii cysts have been the primary source of infection in Europe and the United States, but recent changes in animal management and husbandry practices and improved food handling and processing procedures have significantly reduced the prevalence of T. gondii cysts in meat(1, 2). Nonetheless, seroprevalence in humans remains relatively high suggesting that exposure from oocyst contaminated soil or water is likely. Indeed, waterborne outbreaks of toxoplasmosis have been reported worldwide supporting the theory exposure to the environmental oocyst form poses a significant health risk(3-5). To date, research on understanding the prevalence of T. gondii oocysts in the water and environment are limited due to the lack of tools to detect oocysts in the environment (5, 6). This is primarily due to the lack of efficient purification protocols for obtaining large numbers of highly purified T gondii oocysts from infected cats for research purposes. This study describes the development of a modified CsCl method that easily purifies T. gondii oocysts from feces of infected cats that are suitable for molecular biological and tissue culture manipulation(7).
PMID: 19888193 [PubMed - in process]