BACKGROUND: Toxoplasmosis is a common cause of foodborne, gastrointestinal and congenital syndrome with particularly severe or unknown health consequences. There is no safe and effective preventive or therapeutic modality against congenital toxoplasmosis or to eliminate the persistent chronic infection.

HYPOTHESIS: Diclazuril to be safe in pregnancy and effective against gastrointestinal toxoplasmosis.

METHODS: CD1 programmed pregnant mice were divided into groups and administered a diet containing diclazuril, or sham control. Treatments were initiated on Day 5 of pregnancy and continued until Day 16 when dams were euthanatized. On Day 8 of pregnancy dams were infected intraperitoneally with escalating doses of tachyzoites (0, 100, 300, 600) from Type II strain. Dams were monitored daily for distress, pain, and abortion and samples collected at the end of the experiments.

RESULTS: Infected dams developed moderate to severe Toxoplasma related complications in tachyzoites dose dependent manner. Animals became anemic and showed hydrothorax, and ascities. Diclazuril effectively protected dams from ascities and anemia (p < 0.05). Infected dams showed splenomegaly, with massive infiltration of epithelioid cells compared with the protective effect of diclazuril in treated animals. Infected dams exhibited severe hepatitis (score 0 to 4 scale = 3.5 ± 0.01) with influx of inflammatory and plasma cells, dysplastic hepatocytes, multinucleated giant cell transformation and hepatic cells necrosis. Diclazuril treatment significantly protected dams from hepatitis, also in tachyzoites dose (100, 300, 600) dependent manner (respectively infected-treated versus infected controls, p < 0.001, p < 0.01 and p < 0.05). Colonic tissues were significantly shortened in length, with infiltration of lymphocytes, and macrophages and microabscess formations in the cryptic structures, with significant improvement in diclazuril treated animals. Additionally, the number of fetuses, fetal length and fetal weight were preserved in diclazuril treated dams.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first report describing of diclazuril safety in pregnancy as well as efficacy against mild to moderate hepato-gastrointestinal syndrome in dams and fetal toxoplasmosis (Special issue, "Treatment of Liver Diseases").

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Published in International Journal of Clinical Medicine, v. 5, no. 3, p. 93-101.

Copyright © 2014 Helieh S. Oz, Thomas Tobin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. In accordance of the Creative Commons Attribution License all Copyrights © 2014 are reserved for SCIRP and the owner of the intellectual property Helieh S. Oz, Thomas Tobin. All Copyright © 2014 are guarded by law and by SCIRP as a guardian.

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