Progression of T. gondii infection and immune response to the parasite can be monitored by the following parameters: signs of illness and time until death; histopathology to assess inflammatory changes induced by the infection and to establish the presence of the parasite in tissues (immunohistochemistry); tissue levels of mRNA for genes expressed specifically in the tachyzoite stage (parasite load); tissue levels of cytokine mRNA; cytokine levels in serum and other body fluids; serum titers of T. gondii antibodies; lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine secretion after in vitro stimulation with T. gondii; and flow cytometry to detect changes in the phenotypic composition of leukocytes in different organs. Depending on the purpose of the experiment, the investigator should choose one or more of these parameters as appropriate, as well as the timing of evaluation after infection (see Anticipated Results).
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