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Horacek J, Flegr J, Tintera J, Verebova K, Spaniel F, Novak T, Brunovsky M, Bubenikova-Valesova V, Holub D, Palenicek T, Höschl C. Latent toxoplasmosis reduces gray matter density in schizophrenia but not in controls. Cutting Edge Psychiatry in Practice, 2011;1, S1:159. ISSN 2047-1882

10. 9. 2011

Prague Psychiatric Centre
3rd Medical Faculty and Department of Biology, Faculty of Science of Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic

To address the role of latent T. gondii infection in schizophrenia we studied the influence of latent toxoplasmosis on brain morphology.

An optimized voxel-based-morphometry of magnetic resonance imaging was analyzed by analysis of variance with diagnosis and seropositivity as factors in 44 schizophrenic patients (12 T. gondii positive) and 56 controls (13 T. gondii positive).

Grey matter (GM) volume was reduced in schizophrenia patients compared with controls in the cortical regions, hippocampus and in the caudate. In the schizophrenia sample we found a significant reduction of GM volume in T. gondii positive comparing with T. gondii negative patients bilaterally in the caudate, median cingulate, thalamus and occipital cortex and in the left cerebellar hemispheres. T. gondii positive and negative controls did not differ in any cluster. Among participants seropositive to T. gondii the reduction of GM in the schizophrenia subjects was located in the same regions when comparing the entire sample (11660 over-threshold voxels (p<0.05, FWR corrected). The differences between T.gondii negative patients and controls consisted only of 289 voxels in temporal regions.

Our study is the first to document that latent toxoplasmosis reduces GM in schizophrenia but not in controls.