The effect of artesunate and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin against the cerebral cysts of Toxoplasma gondii was studied. In vitro experiments were performed with the THP-1 cell line and showed an inhibition of parasite growth of approximately 70% with 0.1-0.5 microg/ml of dihydroartemisinin for 96 hr. However, with artesunate, dihydroartemisinin, or a combination (50:50) of them, the number of tachyzoites decreased approximately 40-50% and they appeared motionless. Fifty-eight to 72 hr after washing of the tachyzoites and THP-1 cells in culture, parasitized cells reappeared. In vivo, the 50:50 artesunate-dihydroartemisinin combination produced a decrease in cerebral cysts of approximately 40% after only 5 days of treatment. However, transplantations into naive mice using brains of treated mice gave positive results.