Toxoplasma gondii infection in schizophrenia and associated clinical features
Esshili, A., Thabet, S., Jemli, A., Trifa, F., Mechri, A., Zaafrane, F., Gaha, L., Juckel, G., Babba, H., Jrad, B. B. H.
Psychiatry Research 2016; 245: 327-332
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The belief that latent toxoplasmosis is asymptomatic has been questioned, in particular due to the repeated highlighted link between the Toxoplasma gondii infection and an increased incidence of schizophrenia. However, to understand this relationship, the effect of infection with Toxoplasma gondii on the severity of schizophrenia has been poorly studied. Our work focused on comparing the prevalence of Toxoplasma infection between schizophrenic patients and healthy controls, as well as comparing the clinical features and the demographic characteristics between Toxoplasma-seronegative and Toxoplasma-seropositive patients with schizophrenia. The rate of IgG antibody in the schizophrenia patients was 74.8% compared 53.8% in controls. Patients with schizophrenia had a significantly higher mean of serum IgG antibodies to T. gondii compared to controls. The seropositive male patients had a higher age of disease onset, a higher BPRS score, a greater negative PANSS score and a lower GAF score than the seronegative male patients. These results suggest a higher severity of clinical symptoms in the male patients with schizophrenia. This study provides further evidence to the hypothesis that exposure to Toxoplasma may be a risk factor for schizophrenia. Moreover, toxoplasmosis in men with schizophrenia may lead to more severe negative and cognitive symptoms and a less favorable course of schizophrenia.