Mast cells in the eyes of Calomys callosus (Rodentia : Cricetidae) infected by Toxoplasma gondii
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The mast cell is a powerful effector cell for the innate immune system, acting through the secretion of several distinct mediators. Few studies have demonstrated the relationship between mast cells and toxoplasmosis. In this study, mast cells were investigated in two experimental Toxoplasma infections using Calomys callosus (Rodentia: Cricetidae) as the host. Animals were inoculated either intraperitoneally or via the conjunctiva with tachyzoites of Toxoplasma gondii (RH strain) and sacrificed after 5 days or 24 h, respectively. Enucleated eyes were processed for histological and ultrastructural analysis. Neither experimental infection altered the localization of mast cells compared to control eyes, but they did lead to an accumulation in some tissues as well as to their activation. There was a significant increase in the number of mast cells within 5 days and 24 h after infection. The ocular lesions were characterized by the presence of tachyzoites, inflammatory cells and vasodilatation in the iris and retina. In conclusion, mast cells were mobilized in these experimental infections, suggesting that they play an important role in the host inflammatory response after infection with T. gondii.