Peripheral and placental immune responses in sheep after experimental infection with "Toxoplasma gondii" at the three terms of gestation
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Although it is known that gestation could infuence the clinical course of ovine toxoplasmosis, the precise efect of the term of gestation when sheep are infected are yet mostly unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the peripheral and placental immune responses developed in pregnant sheep after experimental infection with Toxoplasma gondiiat diferent times of gestation. Thirty‑six pregnant sheep were allocated in diferent groups, orally inocu‑lated with sporulated oocysts of T. gondiiat early, mid and late gestation and culled within 30 days post‑infection. The peripheral humoral and cytokine responses were evaluated, as well as the transcription of cytokines at the placenta. Serological analysis revealed that, regardless the term of gestation when infected, specifc IgG against T. gondiiwere detected from day 8 post‑infection and there was an early peripheral release of IFN‑γ at the frst week post‑infection followed by a short peak of IL10 and TNF‑α at the second week post‑infection. There were no signifcant diferences in this response between infected groups. At the placenta, a similar increase in transcription of IFN‑γ, and TNF‑α was found at the three terms of gestation, while IL‑4 increased mainly at the frst and second terms and IL‑10 transcription was higher at the last term. While these fndings show that both Th1 and Th2 cytokines play a key role in the patho‑genesis of ovine toxoplasmosis and that placental and peripheral immune responses do not closely correlate, there seems to be no clear modulation of these responses along the gestation.
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