Analysis of Serum for Antibodies to Toxoplasma Gondii in Individuals with Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorders

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Addis Ababa University


Background: Schizophrenia and bipolar disorders are serious neuropsychiatric diseases of unknown etiology. Recent studies indicated that infectious agents such as Toxoplasmagondii may contribute to some cases of schizophrenia and other mental disorders. In this study we determined the prevalence of T. gondi infection and IgGtitersagainst Toxoplasmain schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients and control subjects which comprise first degree relatives of the patients and some individuals from neighborhoods. Methods: 214 cases of schizophrenia, 171 patients of bipolar disorders and 363 controlsrecruited fromMeskan and Mareko (Butajira)district forgenetic study in 2001and theirstored sera were analyzed for IgG antibody against T. gondii by using enzyme-linkedimmunoassay (ELISA)for a period of March to May 2009. Results: Overall prevalence of IgG antibodies in all study subjects was 95.2%. The prevalence of the antibodies increased with age in cases and control subjects. Theseroprevalence of T. Gondii infection was 97.7% in patients with schizophrenia,95.3% in bipolar disorder cases and93.7% in control subjects. There was significantly increase inseroprevalence of IgG antibodies toT. gondii in schizophrenia cases compared with control groups (p=0.031) but, the difference in seroprevalence of IgG antibodies was not statistically significant between bipolar disorder cases and controls group(p=0.427). In addition, there was no significant difference in IgGtiters between the cases and their close relative controls and/or non-relatives controls recruited from neighborhoods. Conclusions and recommendations: patients with schizophrenia had a significantly higher prevalence ofT. Gondii infection than the control group. Thus, this study gives additional information to the hypothesis that exposure to Toxoplasma may be risk factor for schizophrenia. Further studies may be required to determine anti-Toxoplasma antibody level in first episode psychosis and in the same individuals in chronic course by follow up to speculate decrease in antibodies level caused by antipsychotic or mood stabilizer drugs, which might improve the clinical course in the patients.



Toxoplasmagondii/Schizophrenia/ Bipolar disorder