Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite that invades a wide range of vertebrate host cells. Chronic infections with T. gondii become established in the tissues of the central nervous system, where the parasites may directly or indirectly modulate neuronal function. However, the mechanisms underlying parasite-induced neuronal disorder in the brain remain unclear. This study evaluated host gene expression in mouse brain following infection with T. gondii. BALB/c mice were infected with the PLK strain, and after 32 days of infection, histopathological lesions in the frontal lobe were found to be more severe than in other areas of the brain. Total RNA extracted from infected and uninfected mouse brain samples was subjected to transcriptome analysis using RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). In the T. gondii-infected mice, 935 mouse brain genes were upregulated, whereas 12 genes were downregulated. GOstat analysis predicted that the upregulated genes were primarily involved in host immune responses and cell activation. Positive correlations were found between the numbers of parasites in the infected mouse brains and the expression levels of genes involved in host immune responses. In contrast, genes that had a negative correlation with parasite numbers were predicted to be involved in neurological functions, such as small-GTPase-mediated signal transduction and vesicle- mediated transport. Furthermore, differential gene expression was observed between mice exhibiting the clinical signs of toxoplasmosis and those that did not. Our findings may provide insights into the mechanisms underlying neurological changes during T. gondii infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases