Control of Toxoplasma gondii infection by athymic LEW-Whnrnu rats

Academic Article


  • In immunocompetent rats and humans infection with Toxoplasma gondii remains mostly without overt clinical symptoms, but can be fatal, if the T-cell response is impaired. For a better understanding of the lack of control of T. gondii infection under immunosuppressed conditions, congenitally athymic rats were used as the experimental model. Whereas athymic F344-Whnrnu (F344 nude) rats die from a generalized infection during the first 3 weeks after peritoneal inoculation with 106 tachyzoites of T. gondii strain NTE, LEW-Whnrnu (LEW nude) rats and euthymic LEW rats infected with a 10-fold higher number of parasites developed chronic infection. To identify underlying mechanisms of LEW rats resistance to T. gondii infection and to investigate a possible contribution of residual T-cells to LEW-Whnrnu rat resistance, we characterized the immune response of LEW rats by determination of cellularity and composition of lymphocyte population, antigen-specific IgG2b response as well as assays of antigen-specific proliferation and production of IL-2, IFN-γ and TNF-α. As only euthymic LEW rats developed production of antigen-specific IgG and cellular in vitro responses, these results strongly suggest that the genetic background of LEW rats permits a control of the infection independent of an adaptive immune response. © 2008 The Authors.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sepulveda-Arias JC; Kempf MC; Wiehr S; Wedekind D; Hedrich HJ; Groß U; Herrmann T
  • Start Page

  • 323
  • End Page

  • 333
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 6-7