Parasitology research

Neurotoxocarosis alters myelin protein gene transcription and expression.

PMID 25773181


Neurotoxocarosis is an infection of the central nervous system caused by migrating larvae of the common dog and cat roundworms (Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati), which are zoonotic agents. As these parasites are prevalent worldwide and neuropathological and molecular investigations on neurotoxocarosis are scare, this study aims to characterise nerve fibre demyelination associated with neurotoxocarosis on a molecular level. Transcription of eight myelin-associated genes (Cnp, Mag, Mbp, Mog, Mrf-1, Nogo-A, Plp1, Olig2) was determined in the mouse model during six time points of the chronic phase of infection using qRT-PCR. Expression of selected proteins was analysed by Western blotting or immunohistochemistry. Additionally, demyelination and neuronal damage were investigated histologically. Significant differences (p ≤ 0.05) between transcription rates of T. canis-infected and uninfected control mice were detected for all analysed genes while T. cati affected five of eight investigated genes. Interestingly, 2', 3 ´-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase (Cnp) and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (Mog) were upregulated in both T. canis- and T. cati-infected mice preceding demyelination. Later, CNPase expression was additionally enhanced. As expected, myelin basic protein (Mbp) was downregulated in cerebra and cerebella of T. canis-infected mice when severe demyelination was present 120xa0days post infectionem (dpi). The transcriptional pattern observed in the present study appears to reflect direct traumatic and hypoxic effects of larval migration as well as secondary processes including host immune reactions, demyelination and attempts to remyelinate damaged areas.