Reactivation of chronic toxoplasmosis: is there a link to strain-specific differences in the parasite?

Academic Article


  • The protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii comprises three clonal lineages that are associated with the clinical outcome in infected individuals. Whereas group C strains are mainly found in animals, group A and B strains are associated with human disease (Howe and Sibley, 1995). An increased level of transcripts of the tachyzoite-specifically expressed gene SAG1 could be identified in group A T. gondii strains compared to group B strains. Since SAG1-mediated host-cell invasion seems to be important for parasite replication, the observed higher replication rate in group A T. gondii strains might explain the association with clinically overt symptoms at the acute stage in patients who are infected with this group of parasite strains. The presence of external stress factors, such as interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)-mediated nitric oxide (NO) formation has been identified to stabilize the cyst stage, most likely by activation of promoter(s) which drive the expression of genes encoding bradyzoite-specific antigens. Reactivation of chronic toxoplasmosis thus might occur in the absence of external stress factors, as has been observed in AIDS patients with decreases levels of IFN-gamma. Since group B T. gondii strains might form more cysts in infected individuals due to an increased potential to convert into bradyzoites, reactivation with resulting toxoplasmic encephalitis could be a more common event in those AIDS patients who were infected with persistent cysts of this group of parasite strains.
  • Published In

    Author List

  • Gross U; Kempf MC; Seeber F; L├╝der CG; Lugert R; Bohne W
  • Start Page

  • 97
  • End Page

  • 106
  • Issue

  • 99