Department of Economics and Business Economics

Toxoplasma gondii as a Risk Factor for Early-Onset Schizophrenia: Analysis of Filter Paper Blood Samples Obtained at Birth

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Preben Bo Mortensen
  • Bent Nørgaard-Pedersen, Denmark
  • Berit Lindum Waltoft, Denmark
  • T.L. Sørensen, Denmark
  • David Hougaard, Denmark
  • E.F. Torrey, United States
  • Robert H. Yolken, United States
  • National Centre for Register-based Research
BACKGROUND: Infections during fetal life or neonatal period, including infections with Toxoplasma gondii, may be associated with a risk for schizophrenia and other mental disorders. The objectives of this study were to study the association between serological markers for maternal and neonatal infection and the risk for schizophrenia, related psychoses, and affective disorders in a national cohort of newborns. METHODS: This study was a cohort-based, case-control study combining data from national population registers and patient registers and a national neonatal screening biobank in Denmark. Patients included persons born in Denmark in 1981 or later followed up through 1999 with respect to inpatient or outpatient treatment for schizophrenia or related disorders (ICD-10 F2) or affective disorders (ICD-10 F3). RESULTS: Toxoplasma gondii immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels corresponding to the upper quartile among control subjects were significantly associated with schizophrenia risk (odds ratio [OR] = 1.79, p = .045) after adjustment for urbanicity of place of birth, year of birth, gender, and psychiatric diagnoses among first-degree relatives. There was no significant association between any marker of infection and other schizophrenia-like disorders or affective disorders. CONCLUSIONS: Our study supports an association between Toxoplasma gondii and early-onset schizophrenia. Further studies are needed to establish if the association is causal and if it generalizes to cases with onset after age 18
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Pages (from-to)688-693
Publication statusPublished - 2007

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 4270696