Friday, April 14, 2017

Loss of predator aversion in female rats after Toxoplasma gondii infection is not dependent on ovarian steroids

2017 Apr 8. pii: S0889-1591(17)30107-1. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2017.04.005. [Epub ahead of print]

Toxoplasma gondii infection reduces aversion to cat odors in male rats. Relevant proximate mechanisms include interaction of gonadal testosterone and brain nonapeptide arginine-vasopressin. Both of these substrates are sexually dimorphic with preferential expression in males; suggesting either absence of behavioral change in females or mediation by analogous neuroendocrine substrates. Here we demonstrate that Toxoplasma gondii infection reduces aversion to cat odor in female rats. This change is not accompanied by altered steroid hormones; cannot be rescued by gonadal removal; and, does not depend on arginine-vasopressin. Thus behavioral change in males and female occur through non-analogous mechanisms that remain hitherto unknown.


Apicomplexan parasites; Arginine vasopressin; Behavioral manipulation; Estrogen; Gender; Medial amygdala; Parasites; Progesterone; Testosterone

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