Motile invaded neutrophils in the small intestine of Toxoplasma gondii-infected mice reveal a potential mechanism for parasite spread

Janine L. Coombes, Brittany A. Charsar, Seong Ji Han, Joanna Halkias, Shiao Wei Chan, Anita A. Koshy, Boris Striepen, Ellen A. Robey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Scopus citations


Toxoplasma gondii infection occurs through the oral route, but we lack important information about how the parasite interacts with the host immune system in the intestine.We used two-photon laserscanning microscopy in conjunction with a mouse model of oral T. gondii infection to address this issue. T. gondii established discrete foci of infection in the small intestine, eliciting the recruitment and transepithelial migration of neutrophils and inflammatory monocytes. Neutrophils accounted for a high proportion of actively invaded cells, and we provide evidence for a role for transmigrating neutrophils and other immune cells in the spread of T. gondii infection through the lumen of the intestine. Our data identify neutrophils as motile reservoirs of T. gondii infection and suggest a surprising retrograde pathway for parasite spread in the intestine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1913-E1922
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 21 2013



  • Dynamic imaging
  • Gut
  • Mucosal immunology
  • Neutrophil motility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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