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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Buprenorphine Does Not Affect Acute Murine Toxoplasmosis and Is Recommended As An Analgesic in Toxoplasma Gondii Studies in Mice

item Lindsay, David - BLACKSBURG, VA
item Kaur, Taranjit - BLACKSBURG, VA
item Mitchell, Sheila - BLACKSBURG, VA
item Goodwin, David - BLACKSBURG, VA
item Strobl, Jeannine - BIO SCI BLACKSBURG, VA
item Dubey, Jitender

Submitted to: Journal of Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2005
Publication Date: December 30, 2005
Citation: Lindsay, D.S., Kaur, T., Mitchell, S.M., Goodwin, D.G., Strobl, J., Dubey, J.P. 2005. Buprenorphine does not affect acute murine toxoplasmosis and is recommended as an analgesic in toxoplasma gondii studies in mice. Journal of Parasitology. 91:1488-1490.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite of all warm-blooded hosts worldwide. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children, and abortion in livestock. Cats are the main reservoir of T. gondii because they are the only hosts that can excrete the resistant stage (oocyst) of the parasite in the feces. Humans become infected by eating undercooked meat from infected animals and food and water contaminated with oocysts. Scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and Virginia Tech report that treatment of mice is not affected by treatment with buprenorphine and this should be included in animal protocols when testing agents in mice. The results will be of interest to biologists, parasitologists, and veterinarians.

Technical Abstract: Groups of mice were infected with tachyzoites of the RH strain of Toxoplasma gondii treated with the opioid analgesic buprenorphine, sodium sulfadiazine, a combination of buprenorphine and sodium sulfadiazine, or nothing in the drinking water on days –1 to 12 post-infection. Mice in T. gondii infected buprenorphine treated group did not live significantly longer (P > 0.05) than did mice given T. gondii and not treated with buprenorphine. Clinical observations of mice indicated that buprenorphine treatment reduced distress and pain in mice with acute toxoplasmosis. Mice treated with sodium sulfadiazine alone or sodium sulfadiazine combined with buprenorphine survived the 28-day study. Mice treated with buprenorphine and not infected with T. gondii also survived the 28 days. This study demonstrates that buprenorphine does not adversely interfere with acute T. gondii infection and indicates that buprenorphine can be given to mice to alleviate pain and distress associated with a T. gondii infection and not adversely influence the results toxoplasmosis studies. Analgesic (buprenorphine) treatment should now be the standard of care for mice on acute toxoplasmosis studies.

Last Modified: 4/21/2015
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