Small intestinal immunopathology following oral infection with tissue cysts of Toxoplasma gondii
has been described
in C57BL/6 mice. Seven days after infection, mice develop severe small intestinal necrosis and succumb to
infection. The immunopathology is mediated by local overproduction of Th1-type cytokines, a so-called “cytokine
storm”. The immunopathogenesis of this pathology resembles that of inflammatory bowel disease in humans, i.e.,
Crohn’s disease. In this review, we show that the development of intestinal pathology following oral ingestion of T.
gondii is not limited to C57BL/6 mice, but frequently occurs in nature. Using a Pubmed search, we identified 70
publications that report the development of gastrointestinal inflammation following infection with T. gondii
animal species. Of these publications, 53 reports are on accidental ingestion of T. gondii
in 49 different animal species
and 17 reports are on experimental infections in 19 different animal species. Thus, oral infection with T. gondii
appears to cause immunopathology in a large number of animal species in addition to mice. This manuscript reviews
the common features of small intestinal immunopathology in the animal kingdom and speculates on consequences of
this immunopathology for humankind.