Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Infection and Immunity


Geisel School of Medicine


Protective immunity against Toxoplasma gondii is mediated by the host cellular immune response. Interleukin-12 (IL-12), a recently described cytokine that stimulates NK cells to produce gamma interferon (IFN-gamma), is able to enhance host protection against this parasite in SCID mice. Administration of IL-12 to A/J mice significantly increased survival over that of control mice when IL-12 was delivered early in the course of acute infection. If it was administered at day 3 or thereafter, there was no observed difference in mortality between treated and control mice. Antibody depletion of IL-12 increased susceptibility to infection, as measured by mortality, only when the IL-12 was administered before day 3 postinfection. Mice treated with IL-12 at day 0 postinfection exhibited a significant rise above the control in both IL-2 and IFN-gamma production. Once infection has been established in the host (3 days), administration of exogenous IL-12 is unable to alter parasite-induced downregulation of IFN-gamma production. Thus, IL-12 appears to play an important, but transitory, role in protection against acute infection with T. gondii in the normal murine host.

Original Citation

Khan IA, Matsuura T, Kasper LH. Interleukin-12 enhances murine survival against acute toxoplasmosis. Infect Immun. 1994;62(5):1639-1642. doi:10.1128/IAI.62.5.1639-1642.1994