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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357113

Research Project: Detection and Control of Foodborne Parasites for Food Safety

Location: Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory

Title: Structure, composition, and roles of the Toxoplasma gondii oocyst and sporocyst walls

item FREPPEL, WESLEY - Aix-Marseille University
item FERGUSON, DAVID - Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals
item SHAPIRO, KAREN - University Of California, Davis
item Dubey, Jitender
item PUECH, PIERE-HENRI - Aix-Marseille University
item DUMETRE, AURELIEN - Aix-Marseille University

Submitted to: Parasitology Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/14/2018
Publication Date: 12/19/2018
Citation: Freppel, W., Ferguson, D., Shapiro, K., Dubey, J.P., Puech, P., Dumetre, A. 2018. Structure, composition, and roles of the Toxoplasma gondii oocyst and sporocyst walls. Parasitology Research. 5(2019)100016.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasmosis, caused by the single celled parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, continues to be a public health problem worldwide. This parasite infects all warm-blooded hosts, including humans. It causes mental retardation and loss of vision in children, and abortion in livestock. The ingestion of food and water contaminated with resistant stage of the parasite, the oocyst, is a major mode of transmission of this parasite. Of all the hosts infected, only cats are known to excrete oocysts in feces. Cats can excrete millions of oocysts after eating an infected prey, such as a mouse or a bird. Oocysts can survive outdoors for months and they are highly infectious to humans. In the present papers, authors review basis for environmental resistance of oocyst. These results will be of interest to biologists and parasitologists.

Technical Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii is a coccidian parasite with the cat as its definitive host but any warm-blooded animal, including humans, may act as intermediate hosts. It has a worldwide distribution where it may cause acute and chronic toxoplasmosis. Infection can result from ingestion either of tissue cysts in infected meat of intermediate hosts or oocysts found in cat faeces via contaminated water or food. In this review, we highlight how the oocyst and sporocyst walls sustain the persistence and transmission of infective T. gondii parasites from terrestrial and aquatic environments to the host. We further discuss why targeting the oocyst wall structure and molecules may reduce the burden of foodborne and waterborne T. gondii infections.