Early and accurate diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis

Laura Ciardelli, Valeria Meroni, Maria Antonietta Avanzini, Lina Bollani, Carmine Tinelli, Francesca Garofoli, Antonella Gasparoni, Mauro Stronati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Early diagnosis of congenital toxoplasma infection is difficult to establish using serological methods. We explored specific T cell immunity to Toxoplasma gondii antigens to identify more accurate diagnostic tests for an early diagnosis of toxoplasma infection in newborns at risk for congenital toxoplasmosis. Study design: T lymphocyte proliferation, interferon (IFN)-γ production and lymphocyte activation antigens expression were evaluated in 23 infected and 65 uninfected neonates at different times, in the first year of life. Results: The immunologic tests accurately discriminated when tested ≤90 and >90 days of age, respectively and were significantly lower in uninfected than in infected infants: activation antigen CD25, P <0.001 and P <0.00001; activation antigen histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR, P <0.01 and P <0.00001; T cell proliferation, P <0.0001 and P <0.00001; IFN-γ production, P <0.001 and P <0.00001. Evaluation of the specific T cell response allowed identification at 3 months of age or younger, 2 of 23 infected neonates, who had negative serologic tests. Moreover specific T lymphocyte activity increased with age even in neonates undergoing therapy, suggesting that medical treatment does not affect lymphocyte response. Conclusions: Evaluation of T cell immunity is important for an early and accurate diagnosis of congenital toxoplasmosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-129
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


  • Congenital toxoplasmosis
  • Diagnosis
  • T cell immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)


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