Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Parasites as Causative Agents of Human Affective Disorders? The Impact of Anti-Psychotic, Mood-Stabilizer and Anti-Parasite Medication on Toxoplasma gondii's Ability to Alter Host Behaviour

J. P. Webster, P. H. L. Lamberton, C. A. Donnelly and E. F. Torrey
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 273, No. 1589 (Apr. 22, 2006), pp. 1023-1030
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25223400
Page Count: 8
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Parasites as Causative Agents of Human Affective Disorders? The Impact of Anti-Psychotic, Mood-Stabilizer and Anti-Parasite Medication on Toxoplasma gondii's Ability to Alter Host Behaviour
Preview not available

Abstract

With increasing pressure to understand transmissible agents, renewed recognition of infectious causation of both acute and chronic diseases is occurring. Epidemiological and neuropathological studies indicate that some cases of schizophrenia may be associated with environmental factors, such as exposure to the ubiquitous protozoan Toxoplasma gondii. Reasons for this include T. gondii's ability to establish persistent infection within the central nervous system, its ability to manipulate intermediate host behaviour, the occurrence of neurological and psychiatric symptoms in some infected individuals, and an association between infection with increased incidence of schizophrenia. Moreover, several of the medications used to treat schizophrenia and other psychiatric disease have recently been demonstrated in vitro to possess anti-parasitic, and in particular anti-T. gondii, properties. Our aim here was thus to test the hypothesis that the anti-psychotic and mood stabilizing activity of some medications may be achieved, or at least augmented, through their in vivo inhibition of T. gondii replication and invasion in infected individuals. In particular we predicted, using the epidemiologically and clinically applicable rat-T. gondii model system, and following a previously described and neurologically characterized 'feline attraction' protocol that haloperidol (an anti-psychotic used in the treatment of mental illnesses including schizophrenia) and/or valproic acid (a mood stabilizer used in the treatment of mental illnesses including schizophrenia), would be, at least, as effective in preventing the development of T. gondii-associated behavioural and cognitive alterations as the standard anti-T. gondii chemotherapeutics pyrimethamine with Dapsone. We demonstrate that, while T. gondii appears to alter the rats' perception of predation risk turning their innate aversion into a 'suicidal' feline attraction, anti-psychotic drugs prove as efficient as anti-T. gondii drugs in preventing such behavioural alterations. Our results have important implications regarding the aetiology and treatment of such disorders.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
1023
    1023
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1024
    1024
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1025
    1025
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1026
    1026
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1027
    1027
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1028
    1028
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1029
    1029
  • Thumbnail: Page 
1030
    1030