Neuropathogenesis of Chronic Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Immunocompetant Hosts

A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729). This special issue belongs to the section "Microbiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 August 2024 | Viewed by 1092

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA
Interests: host/pathogen interactions; parasites; Toxoplasma gondii

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Guest Editor
Stanley Neurovirology Laboratory, Ted and Vada Stanley Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
Interests: neurovirology; schizophrenia; schizophrenia risks; bipolar disorder; role of perinatal infections in subsequent brain development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Toxoplasma gondii is a significant parasitic infection of the brain with approximately one-third of the world’s population chronically infected, where the parasite persists in cysts in neurons. While most immunocompetent hosts with chronic infection remain asymptomatic, the chronic infection is also associated with neuropsychiatric illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, and cognitive decline in the elderly. Collectively, these findings indicate that chronic T. gondii infection increases the risk of developing a range of psychiatric illnesses. The underlying mechanisms are not understood, but T. gondii infection has been shown to induce neuroinflammation, induce neuronal loss, disturb neural circuits, and disrupt neurotransmitter pathways. Many questions need to be addressed to advance our understanding of T. gondii in psychiatric disorders. Additionally, the bradyzoite stage of T. gondii in neurons and the mechanisms underlying the persistence of the encysted bradyzoites remain poorly understood aspects of the parasite life cycle. A better understanding of bradyzoites, their impact on neuronal dysfunction, and the host/parasite interactions of bradyzoites in neurons, may yield insights into the neuropathogenesis of chronic toxoplasmosis and its impact on brain disorders.

We welcome all research and review papers on the neuropathogenesis of chronic toxoplasmosis in immunocompetent hosts and its impact on brain disorders. We are also interested in articles on the behavioral effects of T. gondii in other intermediate hosts.

Dr. Sandra Halonen
Prof. Dr. Robert H. Yolken
Guest Editors

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  • bradyzoites
  • cysts
  • chronic infection
  • neuroinflammation
  • neuropsychiatric disease
  • parasite persistence
  • bradyzoite recrudescence
  • schizophrenia

Published Papers (1 paper)

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10 pages, 1106 KiB  
Brief Report
Chronic Toxoplasma gondii Infection Modulates Hearing Ability across the Adult Life Span
by Stephan Getzmann, Klaus Golka, Peter Bröde, Jörg Reinders, Thura Kadhum, Jan G. Hengstler, Edmund Wascher and Patrick D. Gajewski
Life 2024, 14(2), 194; - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 803
While several studies have shown associations between hearing disorders and congenital toxoplasmosis, the present study investigated the impact of chronic, latent Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) infection on hearing loss. We used a regression analysis to explore whether latent T. gondii infection [...] Read more.
While several studies have shown associations between hearing disorders and congenital toxoplasmosis, the present study investigated the impact of chronic, latent Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) infection on hearing loss. We used a regression analysis to explore whether latent T. gondii infection modulates changes in hearing thresholds over an age range from 20 to 70 years. We analyzed audiometric data of 162 T. gondii IgG-positive and 430 T. gondii-negative participants, collected in the Dortmund Vital Study (DVS, Identifier: NCT05155397), a prospective study on healthy cognitive aging. The regression analysis indicated that latent toxoplasmosis was associated with an accelerated development in hearing loss over the observed age range. Hearing loss was less frequent in IgG-positive than in IgG-negative participants up to the age of about 40 for a low (0.125–1 kHz)-frequency range. For high (2–8 kHz) frequencies, this pattern reversed for ages above 65 years. We discuss these findings on hearing function in the context of a recently proposed model, suggesting that latent toxoplasmosis can differentially affect brain functions across a lifespan. Full article
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