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Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2014 May;29(3):205-14. doi: 10.1177/1533317513517049. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

Possible link between Toxoplasma gondii and the anosmia associated with neurodegenerative diseases.

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1Department of Social Pediatrics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Wroclaw Medical University, Wroclaw, Poland.


Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular protozoan infecting 30% to 50% of global human population. Recently, it was suggested that chronic latent neuroinflammation caused by the parasite may be responsible for the development of several neurodegenerative diseases manifesting with the loss of smell. Studies in animals inoculated with the parasite revealed cysts in various regions of the brain, including olfactory bulb. Development of behavioral changes was paralleled by the preferential persistence of cysts in defined anatomic structures of the brain, depending on the host, strain of the parasite, its virulence, and route of inoculation. Olfactory dysfunction reported in Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, and schizophrenia was frequently associated with the significantly increased serum anti-T gondii immunoglobulin G antibody levels. Damage of the olfactory system may be also at least in part responsible for the development of depression because T gondii infection worsened mood in such patients, and the olfactory bulbectomized rat serves as a model of depression.


anosmia; autoimmune diseases; cerebral toxoplasmosis; depression; impaired smell; neurodegeneration; olfaction

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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