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Long-term passage of tachyzoites in tissue culture can attenuate virulence of Neospora caninum in vivo

  • P. M. BARTLEY (a1), S. WRIGHT (a1), J. SALES (a2), F. CHIANINI (a1), D. BUXTON (a1) and E. A. INNES (a1)...


To determine whether prolonged in vitro passage would result in attenuation of virulence in vivo, Neospora caninum tachyzoites were passaged for different lengths of time in vitro and compared for their ability to cause disease in mice. Groups of Balb/c mice were inoculated intraperitoneally with 5×106 or 1×107 of low-passage or high-passage N. caninum tachyzoites. The mice were monitored for changes in their demeanour and body weight, and were culled when severe clinical symptoms of murine neosporosis were observed. Mice inoculated with the high-passage parasites survived longer (P<0·05), and showed fewer clinical symptoms of murine neosporosis, compared to the mice receiving the low-passage parasites. The parasite was detected in the brains of inoculated mice using immunohistochemistry and ITS1 PCR. Tissue cysts containing parasites were seen in mice inoculated with both low-passage and high-passage parasites. When the in vitro growth rates of the parasites were compared, the high-passage parasites initially multiplied more rapidly (P<0·001) than the low-passage parasites, suggesting that the high-passage parasites had become more adapted to tissue culture. These results would suggest that it is possible to attenuate the virulence of N. caninum tachyzoites in mice through prolonged in vitro passage.


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Moredun Research Institute, Pentlands Science Park, Bush Loan, Penicuik EH26 0PZ, Scotland, UK. Tel: +44 (0)131 445 5111. Fax: +44 (0)131 445 6111. E-mail:


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Long-term passage of tachyzoites in tissue culture can attenuate virulence of Neospora caninum in vivo

  • P. M. BARTLEY (a1), S. WRIGHT (a1), J. SALES (a2), F. CHIANINI (a1), D. BUXTON (a1) and E. A. INNES (a1)...


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