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Bilateral Retinochoroiditis Caused By An Atypical Strain Of Toxoplasma Gondii
  1. Juliana Bottós1,
  2. Robin H Miller2,
  3. Rubens N Belfort3,
  4. Ana Carolina Macedo1,
  5. UNIFESP Toxoplasmosis Group1,
  6. Rubens Belfort, Jr.1,
  7. Michael E Grigg2
  1. 1 Vision Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil;
  2. 2 Molecular Parasitology Unit, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, NIAID, National Institutes of Health, United States;
  3. 3 Henry C Witelson Ocular Pathology Laboratory, Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Canada
  1. * Corresponding author; email: jubottos{at}


Background: A 53-year-old man presented with an acute bilateral posterior uveitis with extensive necrotizing retinochoroiditis but without chorioretinal scarring. A thorough workup did not reveal any underlying disease. The possibilities of atypical ocular toxoplasmosis as well as herpetic retinal necrosis were considered and specific therapy instituted, with little improvement. The patient died within two months as result of an undifferentiated squamous cell carcinoma.

Methods: Histopathological examination, immunohistochemistry and multi-locus polymerase chain reaction confirmed T. gondii infection of the retina.

Results: Macroscopic examination of enucleated globe showed extensive retinal necrosis and vitreous detachment. Histological examination of retinal tissue identified numerous round–to-elliptical toxoplasmic cysts within the retina, with retinal necrosis and minimal choroidal inflammation. Immunohistochemical analyses confirmed the cysts were due to Toxoplasma gondii. DNA extracted from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections was subjected to multi-locus PCR analysis at the following typing loci: SAG1, SAG2, SAG3, SAG4, B1, NTS2, GRA6, and GRA7. DNA sequencing of positive PCR products at the NTS2, SAG1, and GRA7 loci confirmed the presence of a non-archetypal strain of T. gondii infecting the eye of the patient experiencing a severe, atypical ocular toxoplasmosis.

Conclusion: A highly divergent, non-archetypal strain of Toxoplasma gondii was responsible for causing a severe, atypical bilateral retinochoroiditis in a patient from Brazil.

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