Toxoplasma gondii is the causal agent of toxoplasmosis in which one third of the world's population has been infected. In pregnant women, it may cause abortion and severe damage to the fetal central nervous system. During pregnancy, the prevalence of toxoplasmosis increases throughout the second and third quarter of gestation, simultaneously progesterone and 17β-estradiol also increase. Thus, it has been suggested that these hormones can aggravate or reduce parasite reproduction. The aim of this study was reviewing the relationship between hormones and infection caused by T. gondii in several experimental animal models and humans, focused mainly on: (a) congenital transmission, (b) parasite reproduction, (c) strain virulence, (d) levels of hormone in host induced by T. gondii infection, and (e) participation of hormone receptors in T. gondii infection. Are the hormones specific modulators of T. gondii infection? A systematic review methodology was used to consult several databases (Pub Med, Lilacs, Medline, Science direct, Scielo, Ebsco, Sprinker, Wiley, and Google Scholar) dated from September, 2013 to March, 2014.
Thirty studies were included; eight studies in humans and 22 in animals and cell cultures. In the human studies, the most studied hormones were testosterone, progesterone, prolactin, and 17β-estradiol. Type I (RH and BK) and Type II (Prugniaud, SC, ME49, T45, P78, and T38) were the most frequent experimental strains.
Thirty-five years have passed since the first studies regarding T. gondii infection and its relationship with hormones. This systematic review suggests that hormones modulate T. gondii infection in different animal models. However, given that data were not comparable, further studies are required to determine the mechanism of hormone action in the T. gondii infectious process.
Toxoplasma; Toxoplasma infection; no steroid hormones; steroids hormones; toxoplasmosis