Toxoplasmosis of the central nervous system: Manifestations vary with immune responses
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Toxoplasmosis is an opportunistic infection caused by Toxoplasma gondii (TG), which affects one third of the global human population and commonly involves the central nervous system (CNS)/brain despite the so-called CNS immune privilege. Symptomatic clinical disease of TG infection is much more commonly associated with immunodeficiency; clinicopathological manifestations of CNS toxoplasmosis are linked to individual immune responses including the CNS infiltration of T-cells that are thought to prevent the disease. In patients with autoimmune diseases, immune status is complicated mainly byimmunosuppressant and/or immunomodulatory treatment but typically accompanied by infiltration of T-cells that supposedly fight against toxoplasmosis. In this article, we review characteristics of CNS toxoplasmosis comparatively in immunocompromised patients, immunocompetent patients, and patients with coexisting autoimmune diseases, as well as CNS immune responses to toxoplasmosis with a representative case to demonstrate brain lesions at different stages. In addition to general understanding of CNS toxoplasmosis, our review reveals that clinical manifestations of CNS toxoplasmosis are commonly nonspecific, and incidental pathological findings of TG infection are relatively common in immunocompetent patients and patients with autoimmune diseases (compared to immunocompromised patients); CNS immune responses such as T-cell infiltrates vary in acute and chronic lesions of brain toxoplasmosis.
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