Toxoplasmosis is a widespread infection, with clinical spectrum ranging from a completely asymptomatic infection to multi-organ involvement. After entering the body, the parasite forms tissue cysts and establishes a chronic infection, involving also the central nervous system (CNS). During the last years, a lot of research has focused on the possible link between exposure to T. gondii and development of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease (PD). If a firm association between Toxoplasma infection and neuropsychiatric disorders will be established, this would lead to novel strategies for their prevention and treatment. We will review data from serological and neurodevelopment studies relating infection with T. gondii to such neuropsychiatric diseases.
We studied a Japanese patient who developed parkinsonian symptoms over 3 months before the diagnosis of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Brain MRI showed multiple lesions with mass effect and ring enhancement in the basal ganglia and subcortical white matter suggesting Toxoplasma infection. Anti-Toxoplasma therapy and highly active antiretroviral therapy for 6 months allowed improvement of parkinsonism, brain MRI findings, and immune system.