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Pathogens 2017, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/pathogens6010003

Is Toxoplasma gondii a Trigger of Bipolar Disorder?

1
Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Psychiatry, University of Pisa, Via Roma 67, 56127 Pisa, Italy
2
Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Via Roma 55, 56126 Pisa, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Despina Contopoulos-Ioannidis
Received: 3 October 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 10 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxoplasma gondii Infection)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [694 KB, uploaded 10 January 2017]   |  

Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii, a ubiquitous intracellular parasite, has a strong tropism for the brain tissue, where it forms intracellular cysts within the neurons and glial cells, establishing a chronic infection. Although latent toxoplasmosis is generally assumed to be asymptomatic in immunocompetent individuals, it is now clear that it can induce behavioral manipulations in mice and infected humans. Moreover, a strong relation has emerged in recent years between toxoplasmosis and psychiatric disorders. The link between T. gondii and schizophrenia has been the most widely documented; however, a significant association with bipolar disorder (BD) and suicidal/aggressive behaviors has also been detected. T. gondii may play a role in the etiopathogenesis of psychiatric disorders affecting neurotransmitters, especially dopamine, that are implicated in the emergence of psychosis and behavioral Toxoplasma-induced abnormalities, and inducing brain inflammation by the direct stimulation of inflammatory cytokines in the central nervous system. Besides this, there is increasing evidence for a prominent role of immune dysregulation in psychosis and BD. The aim of this review is to describe recent evidence suggesting a link between Toxoplasma gondii and BD, focusing on the interaction between immune responses and this infectious agent in the etiopathogenesis of psychiatric symptoms. View Full-Text
Keywords: Toxoplasma gondii; bipolar disorder; immunity; pro-inflammatory cytokines; dopaminergic pathways; antipsychotics and mood stabilizers Toxoplasma gondii; bipolar disorder; immunity; pro-inflammatory cytokines; dopaminergic pathways; antipsychotics and mood stabilizers
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Del Grande, C.; Galli, L.; Schiavi, E.; Dell’Osso, L.; Bruschi, F. Is Toxoplasma gondii a Trigger of Bipolar Disorder? Pathogens 2017, 6, 3.

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