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Parasitology. 1997 Jul;115 ( Pt 1):9-14.

Toxoplasmosis in rats (Rattus norvegicus): congenital transmission to first and second generation offspring and isolation of Toxoplasma gondii from seronegative rats.

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  • 1United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350, USA. JDUBEY@GGPL.ARSUSDA.GOV


To study congenital transmission of Toxoplasma gondii during acute and chronic infections, 4 pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were each fed 10,000 oocysts of the VEG strain. Toxoplasma gondii was recovered from 33, 55, 83 and 57% of rats (F1) when dams were inoculated at 6, 9, 12 or 15 days of gestation, respectively. Progeny of 15 congenitally infected female rats were examined for T. gondii. Toxoplasma gondii was recovered from tissues of 1 of 155 rats (F2) born to congenitally infected dams. A total of 4 (F2) females were mated; 0 of 40 (F3) rats born to them were infected. None of the acutely infected 4 dams that had given birth to congenitally infected litters produced congenitally infected offspring during the second pregnancy. Thus, unlike mice, evidence for repeated congenital transmission of T. gondii in the rat was found in < 1% of cases. Of the 16 congenitally T. gondii infected pups with demonstrable tissue cysts, 5 were seronegative (< 1:4) in the Sabin-Feldman dye test and 5 were seronegative (< 1:20) in the modified agglutination test by the use of whole formalinized tachyzoites and mercaptoethanol.

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