Monday, February 06, 2017

On the determination of Toxoplasma gondii virulence in mice

2017 Jan 30. pii: S0014-4894(17)30054-1. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2017.01.009. [Epub ahead of print]

Toxoplasma gondii is one of the most successful pathogens on earth, capable of infecting an extremely broad range of mammals and birds and causing potentially fatal disease in humans. The house mouse (Mus musculus) has been used as the primary laboratory animal model for determining the virulence of T. gondii strains. Epidemiological evidence also suggests a potential association between virulence in mice and disease severity in human toxoplasmosis. However, many factors can affect virulence measurements, including route of infection, life stage of the parasite, number of passages of the parasite in mice or cell culture, and the mouse host line used. Variability among these factors makes it difficult to compare results between different studies in different laboratories. Here, we discuss important factors that should be considered when carrying out T. gondii murine virulence assays and propose a standardized methodology that should facilitate integration of T. gondii virulence data throughout the research community in future studies and thereby enable more efficient and effective analysis of genetic and virulence patterns for this important parasite.


Mortality; Toxoplasma gondii; Virulence

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