Neospora caninum is an apicomplexan parasite identified as a major cause of abortion in cattle and neurological disease in various animal species. It is closely related to Toxoplasma gondii, sharing the ability to persist indefinitely in latent stage within the host as a tissue cyst containing slow-dividing bradyzoites. In this study, we compared different stress methods to induce in vitro bradyzoite conversion, using MARC-145 cells infected with Nc-Liverpool isolate. The tachyzoite-to-bradyzoite conversion rate was monitored at days 3, 5, and 7 after stress in a double-immunofluorescence assay using a monoclonal antibody against the tachyzoite antigen SAG1 (αSAG1) and a rabbit serum directed to the intracytoplasmic bradyzoite antigen BAG1 (αBAG1). Seven days of treatment with 70 μM sodium nitroprusside offered the highest bradyzoite transformation rate and the best yield of total parasitophorous vacuoles observed. In the present work, we introduce an alternative, simplified, and more advantageous method for bradyzoite production of N. caninum, using a reliable cell culture system easy to handle and with promising capacity of parasite purification.

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