DOI: 10.3390/pathogens12121412 ISSN: 2076-0817

Isolation and Characterization of a Viable Toxoplasma gondii from Captive Caracal (Caracal caracal)

Hongjie Ren, Gaohui Mao, Yan Zhang, Niuping Zhu, Qunchao Liang, Yibao Jiang, Yurong Yang
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology and Allergy

Toxoplasma gondii is a widespread protozoan parasite that infects most warm-blooded animals, and felids can serve as intermediate and definitive hosts. Pathological diagnosis and serological and etiological investigations were conducted on a captive caracal (Caracal caracal) carcass collected from China in 2022. Pathological diagnosis revealed that cardiac insufficiency, pulmonary edema, hepatic failure, and renal insufficiency were the causes of the caracal’s death. A modified agglutination test (cut-off: 1:25) revealed that IgG antibodies against T. gondii were present in the myocardium juice (1:1600), ascitic fluid (1:3200), and hydropericardium (1:800). A viable T. gondii (TgCaracalCHn2) strain was isolated from the tissue samples (heart, brain, spleen, and skeletal muscle) of this caracal using a mouse bioassay. The genotype of TgCaracalCHn2 was ToxoDB#5 (Type II variant), as determined via RFLP-PCR. The strain was avirulent in Swiss mice and matched the prediction of ROP18 and ROP5 gene alleles of TgCaracalCHn2 (2/2). Mild tissue cysts (203 ± 265) were observed in mice brains after inoculation with TgCaracalCHn2 tachyzoites. ToxoDB#5 is the dominant genotype in North American wildlife, and this is the first documented isolation of T. gondii ToxoDB#5 from China. This indicates that caracal plays an important role in the transmission of this T. gondii genotype.

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