Original Article

Development of a Quantitative Real-Time PCR Assay for Detection of Toxoplasma gondii in Brain Samples


Background: Toxoplasmosis is a worldwide-distributed infection that can cause serious diseases, mainly in congenitally infected and immunodeficient individuals. PCR assays play an indispensable role in the detection of Toxoplasma gondii in different biological samples.

Methods: This study was conducted in the Parasitology Department at Pasteur Institute of Iran (Tehran) during 2016-2018. We designed a highly sensitive quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) targeted REP-529, a noncoding repetitive DNA. We cloned the amplicon in a plasmid (pTZREP-529) and used it to generate the standard curve. The Toxoplasma RT-qPCR characteristics, i.e., detection limit, specificity, linear dynamic range, linearity, intra-, and inter-assay precisions, were determined. The detection limit of the assay was one plasmid copy number (PCN) per reaction (about 0.004 T. gondii genome), and the linear dynamic range was equal to 6 logs (1× 101 to 1× 107 PCN per reaction).

Results: The assay showed no signal when genomic DNA of Plasmodium falciparum, Leishmania major, and Trichomonas vaginallis were used. The standard curve was drawn using dilutions of pTZREP-529 plasmid spiked with genomic DNA from a mouse brain, and test characteristics were shown unaffected. Applying the Toxoplasma RT-qPCR, we showed brain cysts were significantly decreased in mice vaccinated with GRA2 antigen of Toxoplasma formulated in Monophosphoryl Lipid A (MPL) adjuvant.

Conclusion: We have developed a quantitative, specific, and highly sensitive PCR for detecting T. gondii in biological samples.

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IssueVol 16 No 4 (2021) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article(s)
DOI https://doi.org/10.18502/ijpa.v16i4.7875
Toxoplasma gondii Detection Polymerase chain reaction

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How to Cite
Berizi M, Babaie J, Fard esfahani P, Enshaeieh M, Noordin R, Saadatnia G, Golkar M. Development of a Quantitative Real-Time PCR Assay for Detection of Toxoplasma gondii in Brain Samples. Iran J Parasitol. 2021;16(4):621-630.