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J Infect Dis. 2014 Sep 15;210(6):923-31. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiu189. Epub 2014 Mar 23.

Immune profiling of pregnant Toxoplasma-infected US and Colombia patients reveals surprising impacts of infection on peripheral blood cytokines.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine.
Palo Alto Medical Foundation Toxoplasmosis Serology Laboratory.
Stanford Center for Human Sleep Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine.
Palo Alto Medical Foundation Toxoplasmosis Serology Laboratory Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine and Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California.


In North America (NA) and Europe, the majority of toxoplasmosis cases are benign and generally asymptomatic, whereas in South America (SA) toxoplasmosis is associated with much more severe symptoms in adults and congenitally infected children. The reasons for these differences remain unknown; currently, there is little information from patients in either region on how the immune system responds to infection with Toxoplasma gondii. Here, we report the relative abundance of 51 serum cytokines from acute and chronic toxoplasmosis cohorts of pregnant women from the United States, where approximately one-half of clinical isolates are Type II, and Colombia, where clinical isolates are generally "atypical" or Type I-like strains. Surprisingly, the results showed notably lower levels of 23 cytokines in acutely infected patients from the United States, relative to uninfected US controls. In acutely infected Colombian patients, however, only 8 cytokine levels differed detectably with 4 being lower and 4 higher relative to uninfected controls. Strikingly, there were also differences in the cytokine profiles of the chronically infected patients relative to uninfected controls in the US cohort. Hence, Toxoplasma appears to specifically impact levels of circulating cytokines, and our results may partly explain region-specific differences in the clinical spectrum of toxoplasmosis.


Colombia; Toxoplasma gondii; acute; chronic; congenital, cytokine profile; cytokines; pregnant; toxoplasmosis

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