Using a microscope to see inside living tissue, researchers have found how the parasite Toxoplasma gondii passes through the blood brain barrier to invade the central nervous system. The researchers hope this finding will help develop effective strategies to stop the parasite from entering and damaging the brain.

T. gondii infects about 30 per cent of the world’s population. It can be particularly dangerous for those with a compromised immune system and for pregnant women as the parasite can be passed from a mother to her unborn child where it can invade the brain.

A video is available.


Original research paper published in Nature Microbiology on February 15, 2015.

Names and affiliations of selected authors

Christopher Hunter, Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A.