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Our study investigated the innate immune response to Toxoplasma gondii infection by assessing microglial phenotypic changes and sickness behavior as inflammatory response markers post-ocular tachyzoite instillation. Disease progression in Swiss albino mice was compared with the previously documented outcomes in BALB/c mice using an identical ocular route and parasite burden (2 × 105 tachyzoites), with saline as the control. Contrary to expectations, the Swiss albino mice displayed rapid, lethal disease progression, marked by pronounced sickness behaviors and mortality within 11–12 days post-infection, while the survivors exhibited no apparent signs of infection. Comparative analysis revealed the T. gondii-infected BALB/c mice exhibited reduced avoidance of feline odors, while the infected Swiss albino mice showed enhanced avoidance responses. There was an important increase in microglial cells in the dentate gyrus molecular layer of the infected Swiss albino mice compared to the BALB/c mice and their respective controls. Hierarchical cluster and discriminant analyses identified three microglial morphological clusters, differentially affected by T. gondii infection across strains. The BALB/c mice exhibited increased microglial branching and complexity, while the Swiss albino mice showed reduced shrunken microglial arbors, diminishing their morphological complexity. These findings highlight strain-specific differences in disease progression and inflammatory regulation, indicating lineage-specific mechanisms in inflammatory responses, tolerance, and resistance. Understanding these elements is critical in devising control measures for toxoplasmosis.

Original publication




Journal article





Publication Date





1420 - 1420