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J Infect Dis. 2000 Jun;181(6):2018-22. Epub 2000 Jun 5.

Discrimination between patients with acquired toxoplasmosis and congenital toxoplasmosis on the basis of the immune response to parasite antigens.

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  • 1Laboratory of Transplant Immunology, Heart Institute, and 2Department of Ophthalmology, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil.


Many persons infected with Toxoplasma gondii develop ocular lesions. Immunologic parameters in the response to T. gondii were evaluated in infected persons with and without ocular lesions and in noninfected controls. Subjects were divided into groups on the basis of presence of serum antibodies to T. gondii, presence of ocular lesions, and clinical history. Production of interleukin-2 and interferon-gamma by peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with probable congenital toxoplasmosis was decreased, compared with that in persons with presumed acquired infection. Cell proliferation and delayed-type skin reaction induced by soluble toxoplasma tachyzoite antigen followed the same pattern. Asymptomatic persons showed high levels of interleukin-12 and interferon-gamma, whereas persons with ocular lesions had high interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha responses toward soluble toxoplasma tachyzoite antigen. These data suggest that patients with ocular disease due to congenital infection show tolerance toward the parasite. Furthermore, susceptibility to ocular lesions after acquired toxoplasmosis is associated with high levels of interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, whereas resistance is associated with high levels of interleukin-12 and interferon-gamma.

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