Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A murine vertical transmission model for Toxoplasma gondii oocyst infection and studies on the efficacy of bumped kinase inhibitor (BKI)-1294 and the naphthoquinone buparvaquone against congenital toxoplasmosis

 2017 May 9. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkx134. [Epub ahead of print]



Establishment of a mouse model for congenital toxoplasmosis based on oral infection with oocysts from Toxoplasma gondii ME49 and its application for investigating chemotherapeutic options against congenital toxoplasmosis.


CD1 mice were mated, orally infected with 5, 25, 100, 500 or 2000 oocysts and monitored for clinical signs and survival of dams and pups until 4 weeks post partum . The parasite burden in infected mice was quantified by real-time PCR in lungs, brains and, in the case of surviving pups, also in eyes. Seroconversion was assessed by ELISA. T. gondii cysts in brain were identified by immunofluorescence. In a second experiment, pregnant CD1 mice challenged with 20 oocysts/mouse were treated with buparvaquone or the calcium-dependent protein kinase 1 inhibitor bumped kinase inhibitor (BKI)-1294 and the outcome of infection was analysed.


T. gondii DNA was detected in the brain of all infected animals, irrespective of the infection dose. Seroconversion occurred at 3 weeks post-infection. Most pups born to infected dams died within 1 week post partum , but a small fraction survived until the end of the experiment. T. gondii DNA was detected in the brain of all survivors and half of them exhibited ocular infection. Chemotherapy with both compounds led to dramatically increased numbers of surviving pups and reduced cerebral infection. Most efficient were treatments with BKI-1294, with 100% survivors and only 7% brain-positive pups.


BKI-1294 and buparvaquone exert excellent activities against transplacental transmission in pregnant mice.

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