Various conditions of cultures were performed to investigate the role of tight junctions formed between adjacent MDCK cells on the entry of Toxoplasma. When MDCK cells were cocultured with excess number of Toxoplasma at the seeding density of 1 x 10(5), 3 x 10(5), and 5 x 10(5) cells/ml for 4 days, the number of intracellular parasites decreased rapidly as the host cells reached saturation density, i.e., the formation of tight junctions. When the concentration of calcium in the media (1.8 mM in general) was shifted to 5 microM that resulted in the elimination of tight junction, the penetration of Toxoplasma increased about 2-fold (p less than 0.05) in the saturated culture, while that of non-saturated culture decreased by half. Trypsin-EDTA which was treated to conquer the tight junctions of saturated culture favored the entry of Toxoplasma about 2.5-fold (p less than 0.05) compared to the non-treated, while that of non-saturated culture decreased to about one fifth. It was suggested that the tight junctions of epithelial cells play a role as a barrier for the entry of Toxoplasma and Toxoplasma penetrate into host cells through membrane structure-specific, i.e., certain kind of receptors present on the basolateral rather than apical surface of MDCK cells.