Redox Biol. 2023 Sep 17;67:102890. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2023.102890. Online ahead of print.
Toxoplasmosis is a major infectious disease, affecting approximately one-third of the world’s population; its main clinical manifestation, ocular toxoplasmosis (OT), is a severe sight-threatening disease. Nevertheless, the diagnosis of OT is based on clinical findings, which needs improvement, even with biochemical tests, such as polymerase chain reaction and antibody detections. Furthermore, the efficacy of OT-targeted treatment is limited; thus, additional measures for diagnosis and treatments are needed. Here, we for the first time report a significantly reduced iron concentration in the vitreous humor (VH) of human patients infected with OT. To obtain further insights into molecular mechanisms, we established a mouse model of T. gondii infection, in which intravitreally injected tracer 57Fe, was accumulated in the neurosensory retina. T. gondii-infected eyes showed increased lipid peroxidation, reduction of glutathione peroxidase-4 expression and mitochondrial deformity in the photoreceptor as cristae loss. These findings strongly suggest the involvement of ferroptotic process in the photoreceptor of OT. In addition, deferiprone, an FDA-approved iron chelator, reduced the iron uptake but also ameliorated toxoplasma-induced retinochoroiditis by reducing retinal inflammation. In conclusion, the iron levels in the VH could serve as diagnostic markers and iron chelators as potential treatments for OT.