Latent toxoplasmosis and psychiatric symptoms - A role of tryptophan metabolism?

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Toxoplasma gondii (TOX) is a common parasite which infects approximately one third of the human population. In recent years, it has been suggested that latent toxoplasmosis may be a risk factor for the development of mental disorders, particularly schizophrenia and anxiety. With regards to depression the results have been varied. The main objective of this study was to examine subpopulations from the Danish PRISME and GENDEP populations for TOX IgG antibodies. These consisted of: a group with symptoms of anxiety, a group suffering from burnout syndrome, as well as two different subpopulations with depression of differing severity. The secondary objective of this study was to examine whether tryptophan metabolism was altered in TOX-positive subjects within each subpopulation. Our results show that the anxiety and burnout populations were more likely to be TOX IgG seropositive. Furthermore, we find that the moderate-severe but not mild-moderate depressive subpopulation were associated with TOX seropositivety, suggesting a possible role of symptom severity. Additionally, we found that TOX positive subjects in the anxiety and burnout subpopulations had altered tryptophan metabolism. This relationship did not exist in the mild-moderate depressive subpopulation. These results suggest that TOX seropositivity may be related to anxiety, burnout and potentially to severity of depression. We furthermore show that the psychiatric symptoms could be associated with an altered tryptophan metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Volume110
Pages (from-to)45-50
Number of pages6
ISSN0022-3956
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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