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Galectins expressed differently in genetically susceptible C57BL/6 and resistant BALB/c mice during acute ocular Toxoplasma gondii infection

  • S.-J. CHEN (a1) (a2), Y.-X. ZHANG (a1) (a2), S.-G. HUANG (a3) and F.-L. LU (a1) (a2)

Ocular toxoplasmosis (OT) caused by Toxoplasma gondii is a major cause of infectious uveitis, however little is known about its immunopathological mechanism. Susceptible C57BL/6 (B6) and resistant BALB/c mice were intravitreally infected with 500 tachyzoites of the RH strain of T. gondii. B6 mice showed more severe ocular pathology and higher parasite loads in the eyes. The levels of galectin (Gal)-9 and its receptors (Tim-3 and CD137), interferon (IFN)-γ, IL-6 and IL-10 were significantly higher in the eyes of B6 mice than those of BALB/c mice; however, the levels of IFN-α and -β were significantly decreased in the eyes and CLNs of B6 mice but significantly increased in BALB/c mice after infection. After blockage of galectin–receptor interactions by α-lactose, neither ocular immunopathology nor parasite loads were different from those of infected BALB/c mice without α-lactose treatment. Although the expressions of Gal-9/receptor were significantly increased in B6 mice and Gal-1 and -3 were upregulated in both strains of mice upon ocular T. gondii infection, blockage of galectins did not change the ocular pathogenesis of genetic resistant BALB/c mice. However, IFN-α and -β were differently expressed in B6 and BALB/c mice, suggesting that type I IFNs may play a protective role in experimental OT.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Department of Parasitology, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, Guangdong, China, Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Control (Sun Yat-sen University), Ministry of Education, Guangzhou 510080, Guangdong, China and School of Stomatology, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, Guangdong, China. E-mail:;
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