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Temporal differences in the expression of messenger-RNA for IL-10 and IFN-gamma in the brains and spleens of C57BL/10 mice infected with Toxoplasma gondii

Burke, J M and Roberts, Craig and Hunter, C A and Murray, M and Alexander, J (1994) Temporal differences in the expression of messenger-RNA for IL-10 and IFN-gamma in the brains and spleens of C57BL/10 mice infected with Toxoplasma gondii. Parasite Immunology, 16 (6). pp. 305-314. ISSN 0141-9838

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C57BL/10 Sc Sn (B10) mice infected orally with Toxoplasma gondii tissue cysts were killed at regular intervals up to day 116 post infection (p.i.) and their brains excised. These were used either to count the total number of cysts in the brain, for RNA purification or histopathological studies. Mortality levels in a parallel group of T. gondii infected B10 mice were also monitored and regular plasma samples taken to measure specific antibody production. Seventy per cent of mice died within the first 35 days of infection. Thereafter deaths were infrequent. Inflammation in the brain was apparent from day 10 onwards and by day 25 there was widespread astrocyte activation, perivascular cuffing, meningitis and extensive encephalitis. Total cyst numbers increased rapidly from day 15 to day 35 when they peaked. By day 60, however, cyst numbers had dropped dramatically and this decrease continued through to day 116. Using the polymerase chain reaction mRNA transcripts for IFN-gamma were detected from the first time point sampled, day 25 p.i., until the end of the study. Transcripts for IL-10, an inhibitor of IFN-gamma production, release and activity, were not detected until day 70. The predominant antibody detected against T. gondii was IgG2a but not IgG1. Significantly transcripts for IFN-gamma were found in the spleens of infected but not non-infected animals. Our results suggest that an inflammatory response associated with IFN-gamma production in B10 mice eventually controls T. gondii infection. After the cyst burden has dropped dramatically transcripts for IL-10 are detected in the brain, perhaps to suppress inflammation, and limit pathology.