Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Nov 21. pii: S0889-1591(13)00543-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2013.11.012. [Epub ahead of print]
Patterns of Toxoplasma gondii cyst distribution in the forebrain associate with individual variation in predator odor avoidance and anxiety-related behavior in male Long-Evans rats
Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is one of the world's most successful brain parasites. T. gondii engages in parasite manipulation of host behavior and infection has been epidemiologically linked to numerous psychiatric disorders. Mechanisms by which T. gondii alters host behavior are not well understood, but neuroanatomical cyst presence and the localized host immune response to cysts are potential candidates. The aim of these studies was to test the hypothesis that T. gondii manipulation of specific host behaviors is dependent on neuroanatomical location of cysts in a time-dependent function post-infection. We examined neuroanatomical cyst distribution (53 forebrain regions) in infected rats after predator odor aversion behavior and anxiety-related behavior in the elevated plus maze and open field arena, across a 6-week time course. In addition, we examined evidence for microglial response to the parasite across the time course. Our findings demonstrate that while cysts are randomly distributed throughout the forebrain, individual variation in cyst localization, beginning 3 weeks post-infection, can explain individual variation in the effects of T. gondii on behavior. Additionally, not all infected rats develop cysts in the forebrain, and attenuation of predator odor aversion and changes in anxiety-related behavior are linked with cyst presence in specific forebrain areas. Finally, the immune response to cysts is striking. These data provide the foundation for testing hypotheses about proximate mechanisms by which T. gondii alters behavior in specific brain regions, including consequences of establishment of a homeostasis between T. gondii and the host immune response.
Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Anxiety, Behavior, Cyst distribution, Immune, Individual variation, Kynurenine, Microglia, Neuroanatomy, Predator aversion, Seroconversion,Toxoplasma gondii
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