Parasitology Research

, Volume 100, Issue 2, pp 191–203 | Cite as

Subversion of innate and adaptive immune responses by Toxoplasma Gondii

  • Christine Lang
  • Uwe Groß
  • Carsten G. K. LüderEmail author


The intracellular apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii is able to survive and persist in immunocompetent intermediate hosts for the host’s life span. This is despite the induction of a vigorous humoral and—more importantly—cell-mediated immune response during infection. In order to establish and maintain such chronic infections, however, T. gondii has evolved multiple strategies to avoid or to interfere with potentially efficient anti-parasitic immune responses of the host. Such immune evasion includes (1) indirect mechanisms by altering the expression and secretion of immunomodulatory cytokines or by altering the viability of immune cells and (2) direct mechanisms by establishing a lifestyle within a suitable intracellular niche and by interference with intracellular signaling cascades, thereby abolishing a number of antimicrobial effector mechanisms of the host. Despite the parasite’s ability to interfere successfully with the host’s efforts to eradicate the infection, the immune response is, however, not completely abrogated but is rather partially diminished after infection. T. gondii thus keeps a delicate balance between induction and suppression of the host’s immune response in order to guarantee the survival of the host as a safe harbor for parasite development and to allow its transmission to the definitive host.


Nitric Oxide Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Toxoplasmosis Parasite Survival Parasite Replication 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We gratefully acknowledge financial support for our investigations by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (LU 777/2-1, LU 777/2-2). C. Lang has been supported by a Ph.D. fellowship from the Georg-Lichtenberg Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine Lang
    • 1
  • Uwe Groß
    • 1
  • Carsten G. K. Lüder
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute for Medical MicrobiologyGeorg-August-UniversityGöttingenGermany

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