Fetal loss and vertical transmission of Neospora caninum were evaluated in outbred Quackenbush (Qs) mice with respect to dose of parasites, N. caninum isolate, and route of injection. Mice were infected with NC-Liverpool or NC-SweB1 at day 5 or 8 of pregnancy with doses of 104, 106, or 107 parasites, through either a subcutaneous or intraperitoneal injection. Polymerase chain reaction was used to detect N. caninum in the brains of offspring, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to analyze the maternal immune response. Vertical transmission occurred in mice given 106 NC-Liverpool at day 5 during gestation, and a significant (P < 0.05) maternal antibody response was observed in mice infected with NC-Liverpool or NC-SweB1 at days 5 and 8 of gestation. This study shows that outbred Qs mice are a useful model for the study of vertical transmission associated with N. caninum, as they display less clinical disease and pathogenesis than inbred mice and have large litters, which is advantageous when studying maternal transmission.
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