Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Toxoplasma dye test using cell culture derived tachyzoites
  1. D Ashburn1,
  2. R Evans1,
  3. J M W Chatterton1,
  4. A W L Joss1,
  5. D O Ho-Yen1
  1. 1Scottish Toxoplasma Reference Laboratory, Microbiology Department, Highland Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness IV2 3UJ, UK
  1. Dr Ashburn email: microbiology{at}


Aims—To assess the diagnostic usefulness of Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites produced by serial passage in HeLa cell culture.

Methods—Tachyzoites derived from serial passage in cell culture were used in the dye test. Human sera were also examined to determine their suitability for use as accessory factor. Using the optimum conditions, the dye test using cell culture derived tachyzoites was compared with the current method of production (animal culture) on 105 randomly selected sera. Start up and maintenance costs of each system were compared.

Results—Tachyzoites in most cell culture harvests (84%) from both early and later passes were useable. Tachyzoite yield and viability were maintained during serial passage in cell culture. Sodium citrate was used to modify accessory factor and improve its suitability. The performance of the accessory factor was improved by the addition of 1% and 3% sodium citrate for the current and cell culture systems, respectively. Under optimum conditions, dye test titres using cell culture and current systems were compared on 105 randomly selected sera. The results from 92 of 105 (87.6%) patients agreed or were within one dilution, but all discrepancies were resolved on re-testing. Start up costs for the current system would be 2.5 times and overall maintenance three times more expensive than cell culture.

Conclusions—Tachyzoites derived from cell culture can be used routinely in the dye test. Production in cell culture is more cost effective than animal culture. It is possible for general hospitals to perform the dye test, thus obtaining faster and more specific results.

  • toxoplasma dye test
  • cell culture
  • citrate

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.