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Detection of cytokine messenger-rna in the brains of mice with toxoplasmic encephalitis

HUNTER, C A and ROBERTS, C W and MURRAY, M and ALEXANDER, J (1992) Detection of cytokine messenger-rna in the brains of mice with toxoplasmic encephalitis. Parasite Immunology, 14 (4). pp. 405-413. ISSN 0141-9838

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Abstract

C57B1/10 ScSn mice infected with Toxoplasma gondii developed a meningoencephalitis, characterized by areas of tissue destruction and cellular infiltration including foci of neutrophils. Large numbers of cyst stages were found throughout the brain but were not always associated with inflammation. The use of immunocytochemistry to detect glial fibrillary acidic protein, an astrocyte specific marker, showed a widespread astrocyte activation. This was particularly prominent in areas of intense inflammation but cysts were negative for glial fibrillary acidic protein, indicating that astrocytes were not host cells for the bradyzoites. The use of the polymerase chain reaction to assist in the amplification of total brain RNA allowed the characterization of the cytokines being produced locally within the brains of infected animals. Beta- actin transcripts were detected in all of the uninfected and infected mice. In only one of the seven uninfected control mice were other transcripts found. Transcripts for tumour necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1-alpha and beta, interleukin-6, macrophage inflammatory protein-1 and interferon-gamma as well as the CD4 marker were detected in all of the infected mice. However, transcripts for IL-2 and IL-4 were not present. Several of the cytokines present are capable of initiating meningeal inflammation and may play a role in the immunopathogensis of toxoplasmic encephalitis.