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BY-NC-ND 3.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter August 4, 2011

Pathological and immunological findings in placentas from pregnant BALB/c mice infected with Neospora caninum at early and late stages of gestation

  • Inmaculada López-Pérez EMAIL logo , Esther Collantes-Fernández , Silvia Rojo-Montejo , Vanesa Navarro-Lozano , Verónica Risco-Castillo , Valentín Pérez-Pérez , Juana Pereira-Bueno and Luis Ortega-Mora
From the journal Acta Parasitologica


Neospora caninum is transmitted from a cow to its foetus by vertical transmission and the timing of infection in gestation is an important factor in determining the disease outcome. Few studies have explored the role of the placenta in the outcome of N. caninum infection during pregnancy. Here, we described the N. caninum presence, parasite load, local immune response, and histopathological lesions at the materno-foetal interface after infection of BALB/c mice at early and late stages of gestation. In mice infected at early gestation, N. caninum DNA was detected in foetoplacentary units 7 days post-infection (PI) and in the placenta, but not in viable foetuses on day 14 PI, indicating that the parasite was multiplying primarily in the placental tissues without reaching the foetus. Moreover, parasite DNA was detected in resorptions, suggesting that foetal death could be a consequence of infection. An increase in IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-10 expression was observed in N. caninum PCR-positive placentas, which could favour N. caninum foetal transmission and be harmful to both the placenta and the foetus. Histopathological analysis revealed necrosis affecting both the maternal and foetal sides of the placenta. At late gestation, transmission occurred rapidly following infection (day 3 PI), but parasite were rarely found. In addition, an increase in cytokine expression was observed in spleen and placental tissues from infected animals, while a downregulation in IL-4 expression was only observed in the spleen. Finally, necrosis in the placenta was limited to the maternal side, suggesting that the parasite is mainly multiplying in the placental tissue at this stage. Thus, the results of the present study indicate that the placenta may be actively involved in N. caninum pathogenesis.

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Published Online: 2011-8-4
Published in Print: 2011-9-1

© 2011 W. Stefański Institute of Parasitology, PAS

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

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