Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Certain strains of Toxoplasma provoke inflammation that can damage host cells, while others are harmless.

Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite related to the one that causes malaria, infects about 30 percent of the world’s population. Most of those people don’t even know they are infected, but a small percentage develop encephalitis or ocular toxoplasmosis, which can lead to blindness.

MIT biologist Jeroen Saeij and his colleagues are trying to figure out why some forms of the disease are so innocuous, while others ravage their victims. In their latest paper, they analyzed 29 strains of the parasite and found that some of those endemic to South America or atypical in North America provoke very strong inflammation in the cells they infect, which can severely damage tissue.

Read more:
Biologists find clues to a parasite’s inconsistency 

Source: MIT News
Image credits: wikipedia/Ke Hu and John Murray


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