Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Acute infection with an avirulent strain of Toxoplasma gondii causes decreasing and atrophy of nitrergic myenteric neurons of rats

 2017 May 4. pii: S0065-1281(17)30020-X. doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2017.04.008. [Epub ahead of print]


In the enteric nervous system (ENS), nitrergic neurons produce and use nitric oxide (NO) as an inhibitory motor neurotransmitter in response to parasitic infections, including those caused by Toxoplasma gondii. However, damage to the host caused by NO has been reported by various authors, and the role of NO in protection or cytotoxicity continues to be extensively studied. In this study, nitrergic neurons were investigated in the myenteric plexus of the jejunum and the distal colon of rats infected with 500 oocysts of the M7741 strain of T. gondii. Ten rats were randomly assigned into a control group (CG) and infected group (IG; received 500 sporulated oocysts of T. gondii orally). After 24h, the rats were euthanized, and samples of the jejunum and distal colon were obtained and processed for NADPH-diaphorase histochemical analysis. Quantitative and morphometric analysis of the nitrergic neurons in whole mounts containing the myenteric plexus was performed. There was a numeric reduction of nitrergic neurons per mm2 in both jejunum and distal colon. The remaining nitrergic neurons suffered atrophy in the areas of the cell body and nucleus, which resulted in a decrease in cytoplasm. Thus, we conclude that an avirulent strain of T. gondii in a short time causes neuroplastic changes in the small and large intestine of rats.


Enteric nervous system; NADPH-diaphorase; Neuroplasticity; Nitric oxide; Toxoplasmosis

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