Changes in cytokine levels during reactivation of Toxoplasma gondii infection in lungs

Gregory A. Filice, Connie R. Clabots, Paul E. Riciputi, Oscar Goñi-Laguardia, Claire Pomeroy

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12 Scopus citations


We studied cytokine proteins and mRNAs in mice with two forms of Toxoplasma gondii pneumonia resulting from reactivation of infection. In the first form, mice were infected with T. gondii, developed and recovered from systemic disease, and then developed pneumonia 3 weeks later. As pulmonary inflammation developed, levels of cytokine mRNAs for gamma interferon (IFN- γ), interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-4, and IL-10 increased in broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) cells or lung tissue, and the level of IFN-γ protein increased in BAL fluid. The second form of pneumonia occurred as a complication of primary cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease in mice with dormant T. gondii infection. During CMV disease, IL-2 mRNA levels decreased in lung tissue, IL- 10 protein levels increased in lung tissue, and IL-10 protein levels increased in BAL fluid. As the mice recovered from CMV disease, T. gondii infection was reactivated in the lungs and was manifested as T. gondii pneumonia. During CMV-induced T. gondii pneumonia, IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-4, and IL-10 mRNA levels increased in BAL cells or lung tissue, and both IFN-γ and IL-2 protein levels increased in BAL fluid. We concluded that both forms of T. gondii pneumonia are accompanied by increases in both type 1 T-helper and type 2 T-helper cytokine levels in lungs. The mechanism of CMV-induced reactivation of T. gondii infection in lungs may involve local decreases in IL-2 levels and/or increases in IL-10 levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2082-2089
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1999


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