Importance of endogenous IFN-γ for prevention of toxoplasmic encephalitis in mice

Y. Suzuki, F. K. Conley, J. S. Remington

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293 Scopus citations


The importance of endogenous IFN-γ for prevention of toxoplasmic encephalitis was studied in mice chronically infected with Toxoplasma gondii by using a mAb to this lymphokine. Control mice chronically infected with the ME49 strain that received saline or normal IgG had slight inflammation in their brains whereas those that received the mAb developed severe encephalitis. In contrast to control mice, the mAb-treated mice had many areas of acute focal inflammation and infiltration of large numbers of inflammatory cells in the meninges and parenchyma of their brains. In the areas of acute focal inflammation, tachyzoites and Toxoplasma Ag were demonstrated by immunoperoxidase staining with the use of rabbit anti-Toxoplasma antibody, suggesting that the focal inflammation was induced by Toxoplasma organisms. Acute inflammation was also observed around cysts of Toxoplasma. Immunohistologic staining revealed tachyzoites and Toxoplasma Ag surrounding the periphery of these cysts suggesting cyst disruption had occurred. Mice treated with mAb against IFN-γ had five times the numbers of cysts in their brains as did control mice. These results clearly indicate that endogenous IFN-γ plays a significant and important role in prevention of encephalitis in mice chronically infected with Toxoplasma. The mAb-treated mice had the same Toxoplasma antibody titers and the same degree of macrophage killing of Toxoplasma as did untreated controls. These results suggest that IFN-γ may have a direct role in preventing cyst rupture and toxoplasmic encephalitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2045-2050
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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