Does toxoplasmosis cause DNA damage? An evaluation in isogenic mice under normal diet or dietary restriction
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Toxoplasmosis is an anthropozoonotic widespread disease, caused by the coccidian protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Since there are no data regarding the genotoxicity of the parasite in vivo, this study was designed to evaluate the genotoxic potential of the toxoplasmosis on isogenic mice with normal diet or under dietary restriction and submitted to a treatment with sulfonamide (375 mug/kg per day). DNA damage was assessed in peripheral blood, liver and brain cells using the comet assay (tail moment). The results for leucocytes showed increases in the mean tail moment in mice under dietary restriction; in infected mice under normal diet; in infected, sulfonamide-treated mice under normal diet; in infected mice under dietary restriction and in infected sulfonamide-treated mice under dietary restriction. In liver and brain cells, no statistically significant difference was observed for the tail moment. These results indicated that dietary restriction and T. gondii were able to induce DNA damage in peripheral blood cells, as detected by the comet assay. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.