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J Microsc Ultrastruct. 2018 Jul-Sep;6(3):139-144. doi: 10.4103/JMAU.JMAU_22_18.

More Than an Association: Latent Toxoplasmosis Might Provoke a Local Oxidative Stress That Triggers the Development of Bipolar Disorder.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Department of Medical Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Beni-Suef University, Beni-Suef, Egypt.
Department of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt.
Fakeeh College for Medical Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Faculty of Dentistry, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.



Toxoplasma gondii, a common parasitic infection, has a special affinity to the brain. It has a lifelong existence without an apparent clinical disease. While the etiology of bipolar disorder (BD) remains unclear, epidemiological studies suggest a role for infections. Central nervous system is particularly susceptible to oxidative stress (OS) because of its high metabolic rate and its low levels of antioxidant defenses. OS is a contributor to the initiation and progression of many neurological illnesses. OS injury is a constantly and compelling finding associated with BD and toxoplasmosis.


This cross-sectional study has investigated a possible role of toxoplasma-induced OS in the development of BD.


Healthy controls and BD patients were examined for anti-Toxoplasma immunoglobulin-G (IgG) and two protein (3-nitrotyrosine) and DNA (8-hydroxy-2' deoxyguanosine [8-OHdG]) OS markers.


Toxoplasma positivity was higher (40%) among BD patients compared to controls (12%). Significantly higher levels of anti-Toxoplasma IgG were detected in BD patients compared to controls. Nitrotyrosine (796.7 ± 106.28) and especially 8-OHdG (20.31 ± 8.38) were significantly higher among toxo-positive BD compared to toxo-negative BD (675.97 ± 144.19 and 7.44 ± 2.86) and healthy controls (464.02 ± 134.6 and 4.17 ± 1.43).


These findings might indicate a role for Toxoplasma infection in the development of BD, possibly through creating a highly oxidative brain environment.


3-nitrotyrosine; 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine; Toxoplasma; bipolar disorder; oxidative stress

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