Toxoplasmosis

Sandra K. Halonen, Louis M. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Toxoplasma gondii, an Apicomplexan, is a pathogic protozoan that can infect the central nervous system. Infection during pregnancy can result in a congenial infection with severe neurological sequelae. In immunocompromisedindividuals reactivation of latent neurological foci can result in encephalitis. Immunocompetent individuals infected with T. gondii are typically asymptomatic and maintain this infection for life. However, recent studies suggest that these asymptomatic infections may have effects on behavior and other physiological processes. Toxoplasma gondii infects approximately one-third of the world population, making it one of the most successful parasitic organisms. Cats and other felidae serve as the definite host producing oocysts, an environmentally resistant life cycle stage found in cat feces, which can transmit the infection when ingested orally. A wide variety of warm-blooded animals, including humans, can serve as the intermediate host in which tissue cysts (containing bradyzoites) develop. Transmission also occurs due to ingestion of the tissue cysts. There are three predominant clonal lineages, termed Types I, II and III, and an association with higher pathogenicity with the Type I strains in humans has emerged. This chapter presents a review of the biology of this infection including the life cycle, transmission, epidemiology, parasite strains, and the host immune response. The major clinical outcomes of congenital infection, chorioretinitis and encephalitis, and the possible association of infection of toxoplasmosis with neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-145
Number of pages21
JournalHandbook of clinical neurology / edited by P.J. Vinken and G.W. Bruyn
Volume114
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Fingerprint

Toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasma
Infection
Asymptomatic Infections
Life Cycle Stages
Cysts
Cats
Chorioretinitis
Physiological Phenomena
Oocysts
Felidae
Encephalitis
Feces
Virulence
Schizophrenia
Parasites
Epidemiology
Central Nervous System
Eating
Pregnancy

Keywords

  • Bradyzoite
  • Cerebral infection
  • Chorioretinitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Immune response
  • Immunodeficiency
  • Latency
  • Pyrimethamine
  • Seizure
  • Tachyzoite
  • Toxoplasma
  • Zoonosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

Cite this

Toxoplasmosis. / Halonen, Sandra K.; Weiss, Louis M.

In: Handbook of clinical neurology / edited by P.J. Vinken and G.W. Bruyn, Vol. 114, 2013, p. 125-145.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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