Hotop A1, Buschtöns S, Bangoura B, Zöller B, Koethe M, Spekker-Bosker K, Hotop SK, Tenter AM, Däubener W, Straubinger RK, Groß U. 2014. Parasitol Res. 113:1473-80. doi: 10.1007/s00436-014-3788-x. Epub 2014 Feb 15.
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite which can be transmitted to humans via the consumption of contaminated meat products derived from different animal species, e.g., poultry. In Europe, the consumption rate of poultry meat is high and may pose a risk for humans. However, little is known about the prevalence and immune response against T. gondii in these animals. Based on these circumstances, we experimentally infected 18 turkeys and 16 chickens with the parasite. Turkeys were infected either with tachyzoites on different routes or with various amounts of oocysts. In contrast, chickens were only infected with different doses of oocysts. The immunoglobulin (Ig) Y humoral immune responses of these animals were investigated in a lineblot assay against the recombinant T. gondii antigens rGRA1, rGRA6, rGRA9, rSAG1, and rSUB1. By using the recombinant antigens rGRA6, rGRA9, and rSUB1 in the lineblot assay, we found a correlation between the humoral immune response and the parasite stage in turkeys. Thereby, an infection with oocysts induced a stronger, permanent long-lasting antibody response compared to tachyzoite-infected animals. Only a minor relation between the oocyst infection dose and the manifestation of the immune response in chickens was found 7 days post infection (dpi) by using rGRA1 and rGRA9. However, an inconstant detection of antigen-specific IgY antibodies in the lineblot assay seems not to be a sufficient method for the identification of a Toxoplasma infection in chickens. In contrast, the detection of anti-rGRA6, anti-rGRA9, and anti-rSUB1 IgY antibodies showed potential for the identification of an infection in turkeys.