Parasitol Res. 2012 Jan 6. [Epub ahead of print]
Behavioral changes in mice caused by Toxoplasma gondii invasion of brain.
Gatkowska J, Wieczorek M, Dziadek B, Dzitko K, Dlugonska H.
Department of Immunoparasitology, University of Lodz, Banacha 12/16, 90-237, Lodz, Poland, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite, is capable of infecting a broad range of intermediate warm-blooded hosts including humans. The parasite undergoes sexual reproduction resulting in genetic variability only in the intestine of the definitive host (a member of the cat family). The parasite seems to be capable of altering the natural behavior of the host to favor its transmission in the environment. The aim of this study was to evaluate the number of parasite cysts formed in the hippocampus and amygdala of experimentally infected mice as these regions are involved in defense behaviors control and emotion processing, and to assess the influence of the infection on mice behavior. The obtained results revealed the presence of parasite cysts both in the hippocampus and the amygdala of infected mice; however, no clear region-dependent distribution was observed. Furthermore, infected mice showed significantly diminished exploratory activity described by climbing and rearing, smaller preference for the central, more exposed part of the OF arena and engaged in less grooming behavior compared to uninfected controls.
PMID: 22223035 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]