Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is a protozoan parasite with the potential of causing severe encephalitis among immunocompromised humans and animals. Our previous study showed that T. gondii induces high nitric oxide (NO) production, high glial activation (GFAP) and neurofilament expressions, leading to severe neurodegeneration in toxoplasma encephalitis (TE) in the central nervous system (CNS). The aim of this experimental study was to investigate ADAMTS-13 expression and apoptosis in CNS and to identify whether they have any correlation with toxoplasmosis neuropathology and neurodegeneration. Mice were infected with ME49 strain T. gondii and the levels of ADAMTS-13, caspase 3, caspase 8, caspase 9, TNFR1 and Bcl-xL expressions were examined in brain tissues by immunohistochemistry, during the development and establishment of chronic infections at 10, 30 and 60 days post-infection. Results of the study revealed that the levels of ADAMTS-13 (P < 0.005), caspase 3 (P < 0.05), caspase 8 (P < 0.05), caspase 9 (P < 0.005) and TNFR1 (P < 0.05) expressions in the brain markedly increased while Bcl-xL expression decreased (P < 0.005). The most prominent finding from our study was that 10, 30 and 60 days post-infection ADAMTS-13 increased significantly and this may play an important role in the regulation and protection of the blood-brain barrier integrity and CNS microenvironment in TE. These results also suggest that T. gondii-mediated apoptosis might play a pivotal role and a different type of role in the mechanism of neurodegeneration and neuropathology in the process of TE. Furthermore, expression of ADAMTS-13 might give an idea of the progress and is critical for diagnosis of this disease. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first report on ADAMTS-13 expression in the CNS of T. gondii-infected mice.
Neuropathology (Neuropathology : official journal of the Japanese Society of Neuropathology)
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