Neospora caninum is one of the more-efficient transplacentally-transmitted organisms. The goal of the present study was to investigate the pathologic and immunologic changes that occur at the materno-fetal interphase in pregnant BALB/c mice infected with N. caninum at mid-gestation. Parasite DNA was detected in feto-placentary units 3 days post-infection (PI). On day 7 PI, the DNA detection level and parasite burden were significantly higher in the placentas than in the fetuses, which may indicate that the parasite is mainly multiplying in the placenta during the initial infection. In the spleens of infected dams, we observed an increase in IFN-γ, IL-10, and IL-4. However, only IL-4 was upregulated in placentas from the infected dams; this may enhance susceptibility to N. caninum at the materno-fetal interphase and favor transmission to the progeny. Finally, an increase in TNF-α expression in nested–PCR-positive placentas combined with necrosis may compromise the viability of the fetuses.

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