Folia Parasitologica, vol. 62 (2015)

Folia Parasitologica 62:015 (2015) | 10.14411/fp.2015.015

Association between latent toxoplasmosis and clinical course of schizophrenia - continuous course of the disease is characteristic for Toxoplasma gondii-infected patients

Tuncay Çelik1, ªükrü Kartalci2, Özgür Aytaº3, Gülay Aral Akarsu4, Harika Gözükara5, Süheyla Ünal2
1 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Adiyaman University, Adiyaman, Turkey;
2 Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey;
3 Malatya State Hospital, Department of Psychiatry, Malatya, Turkey;
4 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey;
5 Department of Biostatistics, Inonu University, Malatya, Turkey

The aim of the present study was to investigate the association between various clinical aspects of schizophrenia and seropositivity against Toxoplasma gondii (Nicolle et Manceaux, 1908). We selected 94 patients with schizophrenia and investigated the seropositivity rate for anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies by ELISA. Clinical parameters of schizophrenic patients such as illness type and status, clinical course, awareness of the illness and need for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) were compared with their serological status. Anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies were detected in 43 (46%) of schizophrenic patients. Chronic patients had a rate of 34 (72%) seropositivity, whereas 9 (22%) of the patients with partial remission showed evidence of latent toxoplasmosis. Of continuous patients, 35 (81%) were found to be seropositive and this rate was significantly more than in the other groups. The rate of latent toxoplasmosis was detected significantly higher in patients who lack awareness of schizophrenia (36, i.e. 72%) than the patients who were aware of their illnesses (7, i.e. 16%). Anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies were detected in 38 (70%) of ECT performed patients while this percentage was 13% in the ones who had never been treated with ECT. This difference was also statistically significant. We showed that Toxoplasma-infected subjects had 15× higher probability of having continuous course of disease than Toxoplasma-free subjects. Our results put forth the possibility of latent toxoplasmosis to have a negative impact on the course of schizophrenia and treatment response of schizophrenic patients.

Keywords: toxoplasmosis, schizophrenia patients, prognosis, serology

Received: May 30, 2014; Accepted: December 4, 2014; Published online: February 13, 2015


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