Presence of Toxoplasma gondii infection in brain as a potential cause of risky behavior: a report of 102 autopsy cases
Samojlowicz, D. Twarowska-Malczynska, J. Borowska-Solonynko, A. Poniatowski, L. A. Sharma, N. Olczak, M.
European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 2019, 38: 305 - 317 Toxoplasma gondii Toxoplasmosis Brain Risky behavior Alcohol Mental health Drivers cerebral toxoplasmosis decreased level novelty seeking dopamine parasite host schizophrenia personality depression strategies
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Toxoplasmosis was linked to impairment in brain function, encompassing a wide range of behavioral and neuropsychiatric changes. Currently, the precise localization of Toxoplasma gondii in the human brain is limited and the parasite DNA was not found in population-based screening of autopsy cases. The aim of proposed study was to identify the presence of parasite DNA within the brain and its association with risky behavior and alcohol consumption in postmortem examination. Preliminarily, 102 cases with certain circumstances of death at time of forensic autopsy was included. Due to high risk of bias, the females were excluded from the analysis and final study group consists 97 cases divided into three groups: risky behavior, inconclusively risky behavior, and control group. The obtained tissue samples for Nested PCR covered four regions of the brain: symmetric left/right and anterior/posterior horns of lateral ventricles comprising lining ependyma and hippocampus. The second type of material comprised blood evaluated for antibodies prevalence using ELISA and alcohol concentration using HS-GC-FID. Analysis demonstrated 16.5% prevalence concerning the parasite DNA presence in examined brain tissue samples without specific distribution and association with age at death or days after death until an autopsy was performed. Results have shown correlation between occurrence of risky behavior leading to death and higher proportions of positive parasite DNA presence within the brain. Correlation was not observed between parasite DNA presence and excessive alcohol consumption. Conducted screening demonstrated correlation between parasite DNA presence in the brain with risky behavior and provided new information on possible effects of latent toxoplasmosis.