Molecular Diagnosis and Pathological Study of Toxoplasma gondii in Aborted Caprine and Ovine Fetuses in Borderline of Iran–Iraq



Infection with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii is widely prevalent in animals and humans. In goats and sheep this infection has a high economic impact as it causes abortions and lamb losses. Although there are several studies reporting seroprevalence in small ruminants in Iran, molecular-based information is scarce.


This study aimed to screen caprine and ovine aborted fetuses for T. gondii infection by PCR and histopathology.


Brains of 121 aborted fetuses (10 caprine and 111 ovine) were collected from different parts of the Kordestan province, bordering with Iraq. Gestational age and the general status of each fetus such as freshness, autolysis, mummification and presence of macroscopic lesions in the fetus and foetal membranes was recorded. Individual brain tissues of fetuses were subjected to nested-PCR targeting the B1 gene, and histopathological sections prepared from brains were examined microscopically.


PCR results revealed T. gondii-associated abortion in one caprine and nine ovine fetuses (8.3%). Microscopically, pathological lesions included non-purulent meningitis associated with gliosis, focal necrosis, and occasionally tissue cyst.


This paper reports for the first time T. gondii-associated abortion in goats in Iran. As organs from aborted fetuses do not necessarily show lesions, molecular confirmation is the unique diagnostic method and should be used in situations of an abortion epidemic.

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This study was partially supported by Bu-Ali Sina University of Hamedan, Iran. The authors wish to thank Sakineh Azami for her kind assistance in the laboratory, and Dr. Ali Sadeghinasab for his help in statistical analyses.

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Correspondence to Zainab Sadeghi-Dehkordi.

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Partoandazanpoor, A., Sadeghi-Dehkordi, Z., Ekradi, L. et al. Molecular Diagnosis and Pathological Study of Toxoplasma gondii in Aborted Caprine and Ovine Fetuses in Borderline of Iran–Iraq. Acta Parasit. 65, 187–192 (2020).

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  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Zoonosis
  • Parasitic infection
  • Small ruminants
  • PCR
  • Histopathology