Autophagy is a process of cytoplasmic degradation of endogenous proteins and organelles. Although its primary role is protective, it can also contribute to cell death. Recently, autophagy was found to play a role in the activation of host defense against intracellular pathogens. The aims of our study was to investigate whether host cell autophagy influences Toxoplasma gondii proliferation and whether autophagy inhibitors modulate cell survival. HeLa cells were infected with T. gondii with and without rapamycin treatment to induce autophagy. Lactate dehydrogenase assays showed that cell death was extensive at 36-48 hr after infection in cells treated with T. gondii with or without rapamycin. The autophagic markers, LC3 II and Beclin 1, were strongly expressed at 18-24 hr after exposure as shown by Western blotting and RT-PCR. However, the subsequent T. gondii proliferation suppressed autophagy at 36 hr post-infection. Pre-treatment with the autophagy inhibitor, 3-methyladenine (3-MA), down-regulated LC3 II and Beclin 1. The latter was also down-regulated by calpeptin, a calpain inhibitor. Monodansyl cadaverine (MDC) staining detected numerous autophagic vacuoles (AVs) at 18 hr post-infection. Ultrastructural observations showed T. gondii proliferation in parasitophorous vacuoles (PVs) coinciding with a decline in the numbers of AVs by 18 hr. FACS analysis failed to confirm the presence of cell apoptosis after exposure to T. gondii and rapamycin. We concluded that T. gondii proliferation may inhibit host cell autophagy and has an impact on cell survival.
Toxoplasma gondii; autophagy; rapamycin; LC3 II; Beclin 1
IL-23 and IL-12 are structurally similar and critical for the generation of efficient cellular immune responses. Toxoplasma gondii induces a strong cell-mediated immune response. However, little is known about IL-23 secretion profiles in T. gondii-infected immune cells in connection with IL-12. We compared the patterns of IL-23 and IL-12 production by THP-1 human monocytic cells in response to stimulation with live or heat-killed T. gondii tachyzoites, or with equivalent quantities of either T. gondii excretory/secretory proteins (ESP) or soluble tachyzoite antigen (STAg). IL-23 and IL-12 were significantly increased from 6 hr after stimulation with T. gondii antigens, and their secretions were increased with parasite dose-dependent manner. IL-23 concentrations were significantly higher than those of IL-12 at the same multiplicity of infection. IL-23 secretion induced by live parasites was significantly higher than that by heat-killed parasites, ESP, or STAg, whereas IL-12 secretion by live parasite was similar to those of ESP or STAg. However, the lowest levels of both cytokines were at stimulation with heat-killed parasites. These data indicate that IL-23 secretion patterns by stimulation with various kinds of T. gondii antigens at THP-1 monocytic cells are similar to those of IL-12, even though the levels of IL-23 induction were significantly higher than those of IL-12. The detailed kinetics induced by each T. gondii antigen were different from each other.
Toxoplasma gondii; IL-23; IL-12; THP-1 monocytic cell
Toxoplasma gondii is distributed worldwide and infects most species of warm-blooded animals, including humans. The heavy incidence and severe or lethal damage caused by T. gondii infection clearly indicates the need for the development of a vaccine. To evaluate the protective efficacy of a multiantigenic DNA vaccine expressing GRA7 and ROP1 of T. gondii with or without a plasmid encoding murine interleukin-12 (pIL12), we constructed DNA vaccines using the eukaryotic plasmids pGRA7, pROP1, and pGRA7-ROP1. Mice immunized with pGRA7, pROP1, or pGRA7-ROP1 showed significantly increased serum IgG2a titers; production of gamma interferon (IFN-γ), IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α); in vitro T cell proliferation; and survival, as well as decreased cyst burdens in the brain, compared to mice immunized with either the empty plasmid, pIL12, or vector with pIL12 (vector+pIL12). Moreover, mice immunized with the multiantigenic DNA vaccine pGRA7-ROP1 had higher IgG2a titers, production of IFN-γ and TNF-α, survival time, and cyst reduction rate compared to those of mice vaccinated with either pGRA7 or pROP1 alone. Furthermore, mice immunized with either a pGRA7-ROP1+pIL12 or a single-gene vaccine combined with pIL12 showed greater Th1 immune response and protective efficacy than the single-gene-vaccinated groups. Our data suggest that the multiantigenic DNA antigen pGRA7-ROP1 was more effective in stimulating host protective immune responses than separately injected single antigens, and that IL-12 serves as a good DNA adjuvant.
Ascaris suum eggs are inactivated by composting conditions; however, it is difficult to find functional changes in heat-treated A. suum eggs. Here, unembryonated A. suum eggs were incubated at 20℃, 50℃, and 70℃ in vitro, and the gene expression levels related to viability, such as eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (IF4E), phosphofructokinase 1 (PFK1), and thioredoxin 1 (TRX1), and to apoptosis, such as apoptosis-inducing factor 1 (AIF1) and cell death protein 6 (CDP6), were evaluated by real-time quantitative RT-PCR. No prominent morphological alterations were noted in the eggs at 20℃ until day 10. In contrast, the eggs developed rapidly, and embryonated eggs and hatched larvae began to die, starting on day 2 at 50℃ and day 1 at 70℃. At 20℃, IF4E, PFK1, and TRX1 mRNA expression was significantly increased from days 2-4; however, AIF1 and CDP6 mRNA expression was not changed significantly. IF4E, PFK1, and TRX1 mRNA expression was markedly decreased from day 2 at 50℃ and 70℃, whereas AIF1 and CDP6 mRNA expression was significantly increased. The expressions of HSP70 and HSP90 were detected for 9-10 days at 20℃, for 3-5 days at 50℃, and for 2 days at 70℃. Taken together, incremental heat increases were associated with the rapid development of A. suum eggs, decreased expression of genes related to viability, and earlier expression of apoptosis-related genes, and finally these changes of viability- and apoptosis-related genes of A. suum eggs were associated with survival of the eggs under temperature stress.
Ascaris suum; egg; temperature; viability; apoptosis; real-time quantitative RT-PCR
Toxoplasma gondii can modulate host cell gene expression; however, determining gene expression levels in intermediate hosts after T. gondii infection is not known much. We selected 5 genes (ALDH1A2, BEX2, CCL3, EGR2 and PLAU) and compared the mRNA expression levels in the spleen, liver, lung and small intestine of genetically different mice infected with T. gondii. ALDH1A2 mRNA expressions of both mouse strains were markedly increased at day 1-4 postinfection (PI) and then decreased, and its expressions in the spleen and lung were significantly higher in C57BL/6 mice than those of BALB/c mice. BEX2 and CCR3 mRNA expressions of both mouse strains were significantly increased from day 7 PI and peaked at day 15-30 PI (P<0.05), especially high in the spleen liver or small intestine of C57BL/6 mice. EGR2 and PLAU mRNA expressions of both mouse strains were significantly increased after infection, especially high in the spleen and liver. However, their expression patterns were varied depending on the tissue and mouse strain. Taken together, T. gondii-susceptible C57BL/6 mice expressed higher levels of these 5 genes than did T. gondii-resistant BALB/c mice, particularly in the spleen and liver. And ALDH1A2 and PLAU expressions were increased acutely, whereas BEX2, CCL3 and EGR2 expressions were increased lately. Thus, these demonstrate that host genetic factors exert a strong impact on the expression of these 5 genes and their expression patterns were varied depending on the gene or tissue.
Toxoplasma gondii; RT-PCR; mouse; ALDH1A2; BEX2; CCL3; EGR2; PLAU
The present study was performed to investigate the infection status of intestinal parasites in pigs and beef cattle in rural areas of Chungcheongnam-do, Korea. From November 2009 to April 2010, a total of 241 fecal samples of pigs and beef cattle (136 and 105, respectively) were examined by direct smear and centrifugal sedimentation methods. The overall positive rates of intestinal parasites among pigs and beef cattle were 73.5% and 4.8%, respectively, and the double-infection rate was 10.3% in pigs. Of 136 specimens from pigs, Balantidium coli, Ascaris suum, and Entamoeba spp. infections were found in 88 (64.7%), 24 (17.6%), and 5 cases (3.7%), respectively. Of 105 beef cattle, Entamoeba spp. infections were detected in 5 cases (4.8%). From these results, it is shown that pigs raised on rural farms in Chungcheongnam-do had a high B. coli infection rate and a moderate A. suum infection rate. These results demonstrate that environmentally resistant cysts or eggs could be widespread on the farms examined, and thus an effective hygienic management system is needed to prevent them from serving as the source of infection for human beings.
prevalence; intestinal parasites; beef cattle; pigs
We studied on the proteomic characteristics of Toxoplasma gondii KI-1 tachyzoites which were originally isolated from a Korean patient, and compared with those of the well-known virulent RH strain using 2-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE), mass spectrometry, and quantitative real-time PCR. Two-dimensional separation of the total proteins isolated from KI-1 tachyzoites revealed up to 150 spots, of which 121 were consistent with those of RH tachyzoites. Of the remaining 29 spots, 14 showed greater than 5-fold difference in density between the KI-1 and RH tachyzoites at a pH of 5.0-8.0. Among the 14 spots, 5 from the KI-1 isolate and 7 from the RH strain were identified using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry and database searches. The spots from the KI-1 tachyzoites were dense granule proteins (GRA 2, 3, 6, and 7), hypoxanthine-guanine-xanthine phosphoribosyltransferase (HGRPTase), and uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRTase). The spots from the RH strain were surface antigen 1 (SAG 1), L-lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), actin, chorismate synthase, peroximal catalase, hexokinase, bifunctional dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase (DHTR-TS), and nucleoside-triphosphatases (NTPases). Quantitative real-time PCR supported our mass spectrometric results by showing the elevated expression of the genes encoding GRA 2, 3, and 6 and UPRTase in the KI-1 tachyzoites and those encoding GRA 7, SAG 1, NTPase, and chorismate synthase in the RH tachyzoites. These observations demonstrate that the protein compositions of KI-1 and RH tachyzoites are similar but differential protein expression is involved in virulence.
Toxoplasma gondii; Korean Isolate-1 (KI-1); proteomics; quantitative real time PCR
This purpose of this paper is to introduce the status of the Asan Medical Center (AMC) medical information system with respect to healthcare quality improvement.
Asan Medical Information System (AMIS) is projected to become a completely electronic and digital information hospital. AMIS has played a role in improving the health care quality based on the following measures: safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency, privacy, and security.
AMIS consisted of several distinctive systems: order communication system, electronic medical record, picture archiving communication system, clinical research information system, data warehouse, enterprise resource planning, IT service management system, and disaster recovery system. The most distinctive features of AMIS were the high alert-medication recognition & management system, the integrated and severity stratified alert system, the integrated patient monitoring system, the perioperative diabetic care monitoring and support system, and the clinical indicator management system.
AMIS provides IT services for AMC, 7 affiliated hospitals and over 5,000 partners clinics, and was developed to improve healthcare services. The current challenge of AMIS is standard and interoperability. A global health IT strategy is needed to get through the current challenges and to provide new services as needed.
Hospital Information Systems; Quality of Health Care; Clinical Decision Support Systems; Electronic Medical Record
In this experiment, the correlation between antigenemia and specific antibody responses in Toxoplasma gondii-infected rabbits was assessed. We injected 1,000 T. gondii tachyzoites (RH) subcutaneously into 5 rabbits. Parasitemia, circulating antigens, and IgM and IgG antibody titers in blood were tested by ELISA and immunoblot. For detection of parasitemia, mice were injected with blood from rabbits infected with T. gondii and mice died between days 2 and 10 post-infection (PI). Circulating antigens were detected early on day 2 PI, and the titers increased from day 4 PI and peaked on day 12 PI. Anti-Toxoplasma IgM antibody titers increased on day 6 PI and peaked on days 14-16 PI. IgG was detected from day 10 PI, and the titers increased continuously during the experiment. The antigenic protein patterns differed during the infection period, and the number of bands increased with ongoing infection by the immunoblot analysis. These result indicated that Toxoplasma circulating antigens during acute toxoplasmosis are closely related to the presence of parasites in blood. Also, the circulating antigen levels were closely correlated with IgM titers, but not with IgG titers. Therefore, co-detection of circulating antigens with IgM antibodies may improve the reliability of the diagnosis of acute toxoplasmosis.
Toxoplasma gondii; rabbit; antigenemia; parasitemia; antibody
To figure out the epidemiological status and relevance with other diseases in toxoplasmosis, we checked serum IgG antibody titers of 1,265 patients and medical records of seropositive patients. Seropositive rates were 6.6% by latex agglutination test (LAT) and 6.7% by ELISA. No significant differences were detected between sexes and age groups. The peak seroprevalence was detected in the 40-49-year-old age group. According to clinical department, Toxoplasma-positive rates were high in patients in psychiatry, ophthalmology, health management, emergency medicine, and thoracic surgery. Major coincidental diseases in seropositive cases were malignant neoplasms, diabetes mellitus, arthritis, chronic hepatitis B, chronic renal diseases, schizophrenia, and acute lymphadenitis, in the order of frequency. In particular, some patients with chronic hepatitis B and malignant neoplasms had high antibody titers. These results revealed that the seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis in a general hospital-based study was similar to that in a community-based study, and T. gondii seropositivity may be associated with neoplasms, diabetes, and other chronic infections.
Toxoplasma gondii; comorbidity; general hospital; seroprevalence; Daejeon
Although the Korean isolate KI-1 of Toxoplasma gondii has been considered to be a virulent type I lineage because of its virulent clinical manifestations, its genotype is unclear. In the present study, genotyping of the KI-1 was performed by multilocus PCR-RFLP and microsatellite sequencing. For 9 genetic markers (c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, SAG2, SAG3, GRA6, BTUB, and Apico), the KI-1 and RH strains exhibited typical PCR-RFLP patterns identical to the type I strains. DNA sequencing of tandem repeats in 5 microsatellite markers (B17, B18, TUB2, W35, and TgM-A) of the KI-1 also revealed patterns characteristic of the type I. These results provide strong genetic evidence that KI-1 is a type I lineage of T. gondii.
Toxoplasma gondii; Korean isolate; genotype
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite that induces antitumor activity against certain types of cancers. However, little information is available regarding the immunologic mechanisms that regulate these effects. For this purpose, C57BL/6 mice were administered either the T. gondii Me49 strain orally or Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC) cells intramuscularly. Survival rates, tumor size, histopathology, and immune responses were determined for each group, and angiogenesis was evaluated by in vivo Matrigel plug assay. Toxoplasma-infected (TG-injected) mice survived the entire experimental period, whereas cancer cell-bearing (LLC-injected) mice died within six weeks. Mice injected with both T. gondii and cancer cells (TG/LLC-injected group) showed significantly increased survival rates, CD8+ T-cell percentages, IFN-γ mRNA expression levels, serum IgG2a titers, and CTL responses as compared to the LLC-injected mice. In addition, angiogenesis in the TG/LLC-injected mice was notably inhibited. These effects in TG/LCC-injected mice were similar or were increased by the addition of an adjuvant, Quil-A. However, TG/LLC-injected mice showed decreased percentages of CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells, IFN-γ mRNA expression levels, and serum IgG1 and IgG2a titers as compared to TG-injected mice. Taken together, our results demonstrate that T. gondii infection inhibits tumor growth in the Lewis lung carcinoma mouse model through the induction of Th1 immune responses and antiangiogenic activity.
Toxoplasma gondii, Immunotherapy; Lewis Lung Carcinoma; Antitumor; Antiangiogenesis
Surface antigen 3 (SAG3) of Toxoplasma gondii is very similar in structure to the major surface antigen 1 (SAG1). Although numerous studies have supported the importance of SAG1 in protection against T. gondii infection, few reports exist on SAG3.
Materials and Methods
Glutathione-S-transferase (GST)-fused SAG3 of T. gondii (rSAG3) were immunized into BALB/c mice alone or in combination with Quil A (rSAG3/Quil A), and then evaluated the protective immunity in vivo and in vitro against murine toxoplasmosis.
Immunization with rSAG3 or rSAG3/Quil A resulted in significantly more survival days and fewer brain cysts after challenge with T. gondii compared to an infected control group. Mice immunized with rSAG3 alone or in combination with Quil A produced significantly more specific IgG2a antibody, whereas specific IgG1 antibody titers did not increase. The percentage of CD8+ T cells, IFN-γ mRNA expression, and nitric oxide production significantly increased in rSAG3- and rSAG3/Quil A-immunized mice.
These results indicate that vaccination with Toxoplasma rSAG3 results in partial protective immunity against T. gondii infection through induction of a Th1-type immune response, and that protective immunity is accelerated by the modulating effects of Quil A.
Toxoplasma gondii; recombinant SAG3 antigen; vaccination; Quil A
Toxoplasma gondii has been shown to result in life-threatening encephalitis in immunocompromised patients after reactivation of dormant parasites. In order to obtain information on immune responses related to this phenomenon, BALB/c mice were infected with 25 cysts of the 76K strain of T. gondii, then, treated orally with dexamethasone (Toxo/Dexa-treated group) in order to reactivate the chronic toxoplasmosis. None of the T. gondii-infected mice died during the experimental periods, whereas the Toxo/Dexa-treated mice evidenced a significant attenuation of survival periods. Toxoplasma-specific IgG2a, IgA and IgM titers in sera were significantly depressed in the Toxo/Dexa-treated mice; however, the IgG1 sera titers were similar to those seen in the Toxoplasma-infected mice. The percentages of CD4+ and CD8α+ T cells in the Toxo/Dexa-treated mice were significantly reduced 2 weeks after dexamethasone treatment. IFN-γ and IL-10 production levels in the Toxo/Dexa-treated mice were depressed significantly, whereas IL-4 production was increased temporarily. The expression levels of the Toxoplasma-specific P30 and B1 genes were found to have been increased in the Toxo/Dexa-treated mice in comparison with the Toxoplasma-infected mice. Collectively, the findings of this study demonstrate that reactivation of murine toxoplasmosis as the result of dexamethasone treatment induced a depression in Th1 immune responses, whereas Th2 immune responses were not significantly influenced.
Toxoplasma gondii; dexamethasone; cytokine; antibody; mouse; Th1; Th2 response
Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite, which invades a wide range of hosts including humans. The exact mechanisms involved in its invasion are not fully understood. This study focused on the roles of Ca2+ in host cell invasion and in T. gondii replication. We examined the invasion and replication of T. gondii pretreated with several calcium modulators, the conoid extrusion of tachyzoites. Calmodulin localization in T. gondii were observed using the immunogold method, and Ca2+ levels in tachyzoites by confocal microscopy. In light microscopic observation, tachyzoites co-treated with A23187 and EGTA showed that host cell invasion and intracellular replication were decreased. The invasion of tachyzoites was slightly inhibited by the Ca2+ channel blockers, bepridiland verapamil, and by the calmodulin antagonist, calmidazolium. We observed that calcium saline containing A23187 induced the extrusion of tachyzoite conoid. By immunoelectron microscopy, gold particles bound to anti-calmodulin or anti-actin mAb, were found to be localized on the anterior portion of tachyzoites. Remarkably reduced intracellular Ca2+ was observed in tachyzoites treated with BAPTA/AM by confocal microscopy. These results suggest that host cell invasion and the intracellular replication of T. gondii tachyzoites are inhibited by the calcium ionophore, A23187, and by the extracellular calcium chelator, EGTA.
Toxoplasma gondii; calcium ion; cell invasion; intracellular replication
To evaluate the role of nitric oxide (NO) in IFN-γ production and apoptosis of splenocytes in genetically different strains of mice with toxoplasmosis, BALB/c (a toxoplasmosis resistant strain) and C57BL/6 (a toxoplasmosis susceptible strain) mice were infected with Toxoplasma gondii cysts orally and subsequently injected intraperitoneally with aminoguanidine, an iNOS inhibitor (AG; 35 mg/kg per mouse daily for 14 days). When BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice were infected with T. gondii without AG treatment, number of brain cysts, NO and IFN-γ production by splenocytes, and percentages of apoptotic splenocytes were increased compared to uninfected control mice without AG treatment. AG treatment increased the number of brain cysts, and reduced NO and IFN-γ production in T. gondii-infected C57BL/6 mice. In contrast, in T. gondii-infected BABL/c mice, the number of brain cysts, and NO and IFN-γ production of splenocytes was not altered by treatment with AG. However, the percentages of apoptotic splenocytes in T. gondii-infected BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice were not affected by AG treatment. These results suggest that NO modulates IFN-γ production in T. gondii-infected C57BL/6 mice, and that NO is involved in mediating a protective response in toxoplasmosis susceptible, but not resistant, mice strain during acute infection.
Toxoplasma gondii; nitric oxide; interferon-γ; apoptosis
Although there are many reports on the splenic (systemic) T cell response after Toxoplasma gondii infection, little information is available regarding the local T cell responses of peritoneal exudate cells (PEC) and gut intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) following peroral infection with bradyzoites. Mice were infected with 40 cysts of the 76K strain of T. gondii, and then sacrificed at days 0, 1, 4, 7 and 10 postinfection (PI). The cellular composition and T cell responses of PEC and IEL were analyzed. The total number of PEC and IEL per mouse increased after infection, but the ratio of increase was higher in IEL. Lymphocytes were the major component of both PEC and IEL. The relative percentages of PEC macrophages and neutrophils/eosinophils increased significantly at day 1 and 4 PI, whereas those of IEL did not change significantly. The percentage of PEC NK1.1 and γδ T cells peaked at day 4 PI (p < 0.0001), and CD4 and CD8α T cells increased continuously after infection. The percentages of IEL CD8α and γδ T cells decreased slightly at first, and then increased. CD4 and NK1.1 T cells of IEL did not change significantly after infection. IFN-γ-producing PEC NK1.1 T cells increased significantly from day 1 PI, but the other T cell subsets produced IFN-γ abundantly thereafter. The proportion of IEL IFN-γ-producing CD8α and γδ T cells increased significantly after infection, while IEL NK1.1 T cells had similar IFN-γ production patterns. Taken together, CD4 T cells were the major phenotype and the important IFN-γ-producing T cell subsets in PEC after oral infection with T. gondii, whereas CD8α T cells had these roles in IEL. These results suggest that PEC and IEL comprise different cell differentials and T cell responses, and according to infection route these factors may contribute to the different cellular immune responses.
Toxoplasma; flow cytometry; T lymphocyte subsets; interferon; peritoneal cavity; mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue
The endemic status of clonorchiasis and metagonimiasis along the Geum-gang (River) in Okcheon-gun (County) in Korea was examined. From February to December 2000, stools of total 1,081 inhabitants living in 5 villages were examined. Each stool specimen was examined by both the cellophane thick smear method and the formalin-ether sedimentation technique. Egg-positive cases were further analyzed by Stoll's egg-counting technique, and praziquantel was administered to positive cases. The egg-positive rates for Clonorchis sinensis and Metagonimus species were 9.3% and 5.5%, respectively, and the double infection rate was 3.5%. The numbers of eggs per gram (EPG) of feces of C. sinensis and Metagonimus sp. were 918±1,463 and 711±947, respectively. The egg-positive rates for C. sinensis and Metagonimus sp. in the riverside area were 14.2% and 8.4%, respectively, which were significantly higher than those of the inland area (3.2% and 1.7%, respectively). The egg-positive rates of C. sinensis and Metagonimus sp. in males (16.7% and 10.0%) were significantly higher than those of females (3.5% and 1.8%). However, there were no significant differences of EPG values between localities and sexes. The prevalence of clonorchiasis and metagonimiasis in this survey was significantly lower than that in the previous reports. However, there is still a high prevalence of infection with C. sinensis and Metagonimus sp. in this region, especially in the riverside area.
Clonorchis sinensis; Metagonimus sp.; epidemiology; Okcheon-gun
Although some reports have been published on the protective effect of antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii surface membrane proteins, few address the inhibitory activity of antibodies to dense granular proteins (GRA proteins). Therefore, we performed a series of experiments to evaluate the inhibitory effects of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to GRA proteins (GRA2, 28 kDa; GRA6, 32 kDa) and surface membrane protein (SAG1, 30 kDa) on the invasion of T. gondii tachyzoites. Passive immunization of mice with one of three mAbs following challenge with a lethal dose of tachyzoites significantly increased survival compared with results for mice treated with control ascites. The survival times of mice challenged with tachyzoites pretreated with anti-GRA6 or anti-SAG1 mAb were significantly increased. Mice that received tachyzoites pretreated with both mAb and complement had longer survival times than those that received tachyzoites pretreated with mAb alone. Invasion of tachyzoites into fibroblasts and macrophages was significantly inhibited in the anti-GRA2, anti-GRA6 or anti-SAG1 mAb pretreated group. Pretreatment with mAb and complement inhibited invasion of tachyzoites in both fibroblasts and macrophages. These results suggest that specific antibodies to dense-granule molecules may be useful for controlling infection with T. gondii.
Toxoplasma gondii; monoclonal antibody; dense-granule molecules; complement; major surface protein; host cell invasion
There have been some reports about the prevalence of anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibody among Koreans, and most of all data were taken from patients visiting hospitals. However, the epidemiological data of the community-based study in Korea are rare. This study was performed to evaluate the seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis among the inhabitants of the rural area Okcheon-gun, Korea. A total of 1,109 serum samples (499 males, 610 females) were examined for the IgG antibodies by ELISA. To set up the cut-off point for ELISA, we used a commercial latex agglutination (LA) kit. The sensitivity and specificity of ELISA against LA test were 89.5%, and 98.6% respectively. Among 1,109 sera, 6.9% showed seropositivity by ELISA. The positive rates of males and females were 6.0% and 7.2%, respectively. However, there were no significant differences between sexes. Comparing the age groups, the highest seropositive rate showed in the seventies or higher, and their rates had a tendency to increase with age (0.05 < p < 0.3). These results revealed that the seroprevalence of toxoplasmosis in rural inhabitants is similar to previous reports in Korea; however we need further investigation to clarify the prevalence of toxoplasmosis in the general population.
Toxoplasma gondii; toxoplasmosis; seroepidemiology; latex agglutination; ELISA; Korea
To assess the relationship between the changes of cellular components and the production of Th1 cytokine in the immune tissue, inbred C57BL/6 mice were orally infected with 40 cysts of 76K strain of Toxoplasma gondii. The sequential change of cell differentials and IFN-γ production of splenocytes were analyzed by Diff-Quik stain and RT-PCR. There were no significant proportional changes of cellular components of splenocytes until day 4 postinfection (PI) as compared to those of day 0, and the relative percentage of macrophages and neutrophils/eosinophils increased significantly (p<0.01) thereafter. The expression of IFN-γ mRNA of CD3- cells was observed from day 1 PI at a low level. However, IFN-γ production of CD3+ cells increased significantly from day 4 PI (p<0.01) which progressively increased thereafter. These findings provide the relative percentages of granulocytes and macrophages were increased in conjunction with increase of total number of splenocytes after oral infection with T. gondii in the susceptible murine hosts, and lymphocytes were the major cellular components and the important source of IFN-γ.
Toxoplasma gondii; toxoplasmosis; splenocytes; cell differentials; IFN-γ; granulocytes
Toxoplasma gondii results in ocular toxoplasmosis characterized by chorioretinitis with inflammation and necrosis of the neuroretina, pigment epithelium, and choroid. After invasion, T. gondii replicates in host cells before cell lysis, which releases the parasites to invade neighboring cells to repeat the life cycle and establish a chronic retinal infection. The mechanism by which T. gondii avoids innate immune defense, however, is unknown. Therefore, we determined whether PI3K/Akt signaling pathway activation by T. gondii is essential for subversion of host immunity and parasite proliferation. T. gondii infection or excretory/secretory protein (ESP) treatment of the human retinal pigment epithelium cell line ARPE-19 induced Akt phosphorylation, and PI3K inhibitors effectively reduced T. gondii proliferation in host cells. Furthermore, T. gondii reduced intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) while activating the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. While searching for the main source of these ROS, we found that NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4) was prominently expressed in ARPE-19 cells, and this expression was significantly reduced by T. gondii infection or ESP treatment along with decreased ROS levels. In addition, artificial reduction of host Nox4 levels with specific siRNA increased replication of intracellular T. gondii compared to controls. Interestingly, these T. gondii-induced effects were reversed by PI3K inhibitors, suggesting that activation of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway is important for suppression of both Nox4 expression and ROS levels by T. gondii infection. These findings demonstrate that manipulation of the host PI3K/Akt signaling pathway and Nox4 gene expression is a novel mechanism involved in T. gondii survival and proliferation.