Spontaneous cystogenesis in vitro of a Brazilian strain of Toxoplasma gondii.

Research paper by T C TC Paredes-Santos, E S ES Martins-Duarte, R W A RW Vitor, W W de Souza, M M Attias, R C RC Vommaro

Indexed on: 28 Dec '12Published on: 28 Dec '12Published in: Parasitology International


Conversion of Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites to the bradyzoite stage and tissue cyst formation in the life cycle of the parasite have crucial roles in the establishment of chronic toxoplasmosis. In this work we investigated the in vitro cystogenesis and behavior of the EGS strain, isolated from human amniotic fluid. We observed that tachyzoites of the EGS strain converted to intracellular cysts spontaneously in LLC-MK2 epithelial cells, HSFS fibroblasts and C6 glial cell lineage. The peak of conversion occurred in the LLC-MK2 cells after 4days of infection, when 72.3±15.9 of the infected cells contained DBA positive cysts. Using specific markers against bradyzoite, tachyzoite and cyst wall components, we confirmed stage conversion and distinguished immature from mature cysts. It was also observed that the deposition of cyst wall components occurred before the total conversion of parasites. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed the fully conversion of parasites presenting the typical characteristics of bradyzoites as the posterior position of the nucleus and the presence of amylopectin granules. A thick cyst wall was also detected. Besides, the scanning microscopy revealed that the intracyst matrix tubules were shorter than those from the parasitophorous vacuole intravacuolar network and were immersed in a granular electron dense material. The EGS strain spontaneously forms high burden of cysts in cell culture without artificial stress conditions, and constitutes a useful tool to study this stage of the T. gondii life cycle.