Efficacy of sulfadiazine and pyrimetamine for treatment of experimental toxoplasmosis with strains obtained from human cases of congenital disease in Brazil.


Ricardo Wagner Almeida Vitor


Laboratório de Toxoplasmose, Departamento de Parasitologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Electronic address: [Email]


Toxoplasmosis in South America presents great health impacts and is a topic of research interest not only because of the severity of native cases but also due to the predominant atypical genotypes of the parasite circulating in this continent. Typically, symptomatic toxoplasmosis is treated with a combination of sulfadiazine (SDZ) and pyrimethamine (PYR). However, some clinical cases present treatment failures due to an inability of the drugs to control the infection or their significant adverse effects, which can lead to treatment interruption. Although resistance/susceptibility to the aforementioned drugs has been well described for clonal strains of Toxoplasma gondii spread to the Northern Hemisphere, less is known about the South American atypical strains. In this study, the effectiveness of SDZ and PYR for the treatment of mice during acute infection with different atypical T. gondii strains was evaluated. Swiss mice were infected with seven T. gondii strains obtained from newborn patients with congenital toxoplasmosis in Brazil. The infected mice were treated with 10-640 mg/kg per day of SDZ, 3-200 mg/kg per day of PYR, or a combination of both drugs with a lower dosage. The mice were evaluated for parameters including mortality, anti-T. gondii IgG production by ELISA and the presence of brain cysts. In addition, the presence of polymorphisms in the dhps gene was verified by gene sequencing. A descriptive analysis was used to assess the association between susceptibility to SDZ and/or PYR and the genotype. The TgCTBr4 and TgCTBr17 strains (genotype 108) presented lower susceptibility to SDZ or PYR treatment. The TgCTBr1 and TgCTBr25 strains (genotype 206) presented similar susceptibility to PYR but not SDZ treatment. The TgCTBr9 strain (genotype 11) was the only strain with high susceptibility to treatment with both drugs. The TgCTBr13 strain (genotype 208) was not susceptible to treatment with the lower PYR or SDZ doses. The TgCTBR23 strain (genotype 41) was more susceptible to PYR than to SDZ treatment. However, the association of low SDZ and PYR doses showed good efficacy for the treatment of experimental toxoplasmosis with T. gondii atypical strains obtained from newborns in Brazil. A new mutation in the T. gondii dhps gene (I347M) was identified that might be associated with the SDZ low sensitivity profile observed for the TgCTBr4 and TgCTBr17 isolates.


Atypical strains,Congenital toxoplasmosis,Pyrimethamine,Sulfadiazine,Toxoplasma gondii,dhps gene,