Cellular Immunity to Toxoplasma gondii in Congenitally Infected Newborns and Immunocompetent Infected Hosts

Fatoohi, A. F.; Cozon, G. J. N.; Wallon, M.; Kahi, S.; Gay-Andrieu, F.; Greenland, T.; Peyron, F.
March 2003
European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases;Mar2003, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p181
Academic Journal
The aim of this study was to determine the frequency of anergy to Toxoplasma gondii in congenitally infected newborns and immunocompetent infected individuals. Specific anergy to Toxoplasma has been reported previously, especially in cases of congenital toxoplasmosis. Whole blood from 592 immunocompetent patients with suspected toxoplasmosis was cultured in the presence of soluble Toxoplasma antigen for 7 days. Activated T lymphocytes were detected by flow cytometry. In patients over 1 year of age, the percentage of soluble Toxoplasma antigen-stimulated T cells expressing the interleukin-2 receptor CD25 was higher in infected patients than in uninfected subjects (40.0±18.3% vs. 1.8±2.0%, P<0.0001). No differences were detected between seroconverters, i.e. those with recent rises in IgM and IgG antibodies, and those with acquired or congenital toxoplasmosis. Similar results were observed when congenitally infected (n=38) and uninfected (n=89) children under 1 year of age were compared (17.6±9.2% vs. 3.0±4.9%, P<0.0001). The sensitivity and specificity values of CD25 detection for diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis in infants were 95% and 89%, respectively, at a threshold value of 7% above control culture. The results show that specific cellular immunity is detectable in virtually all Toxoplasma-infected patients, including newborns. Detection of CD25 constitutes a simple, sensitive and specific test for diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis.


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