Host lipids have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Toxoplasma gondii
infection. To determine if Toxoplasma
infection influences the lipid status in the normal host, we assessed serum lipids of Swiss-Webster mice during infection
with the BGD-1 strain (type-2) at a series of time points. Mice were bled at days zero and 42 post-infection, and
subgroups were additionally bled on alternating weeks (model 1), or sacrificed at days zero, 14 and 42 (model 2)
for the measurement of total cholesterol (Chl), high density lipoproteins (HDL), low density lipoproteins (LDL) and
triglycerides and adiponectin. At day 42, brains were harvested for cyst enumeration. A significant decrease (p =
0.02) in HDL and total Chl was first noted in infected vs. control mice at day 14 and persisted to day 42 (p = 0.013).
Conversely, LDL was unaltered until day 42, when it increased (p = 0.043). Serum LDL levels at day 42 correlated
only with cyst counts of above 300 (found in 44% mice), while the change in HDL between days zero and 42 correlated
with both the overall mean cyst count (p = 0.041) and cyst counts above 300 (p = 0.044). Calculated per cyst,
this decrease in HDL in individual animals ranged from 0.1-17 μmol/L, with a mean of 2.43 ± 4.14 μmol/L. Serum
adiponectin levels remained similar between infected and control mice throughout the experiment.