The probable relation between Toxoplasma gondii and Parkinson's disease

Neurosci Lett. 2010 May 21;475(3):129-31. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2010.03.057. Epub 2010 Mar 27.


Parkinson's disease (PD), a chronic progressive neurodegenerative disorder, has a mainly unknown multifactorial etiology. Neuroinflammatory mechanisms might contribute to the cascade of events leading to neuronal degeneration. Toxoplasmosis can be associated with various neuropsychiatric disorders. The most commonly affected central nervous system (CNS) region in toxoplasmosis is the cerebral hemisphere, followed by the basal ganglia, cerebellum and brain stem. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to investigate the possible association between Toxoplasma infection and PD by evaluating the serum anti-Toxoplasma gondii IgG antibodies. There were no difference between the socioeconomic status of the patients and control subjects and magnetic resonance images of the patients were normal. Serum anti-T. gondii IgG levels were measured using ELISA. There was no statistically significant differences among the patients and control subjects with respect to age (66.01+/-12.14 years, 62.42+/-5.93 years, p=0.089; respectively) and gender. The sero-positivity rate for anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies in PD patients and control groups were 42.3 and 22.5%, respectively, and they were statistically significant (p=0.006). These results suggest that Toxoplasma infection may be involved in the pathogenetic mechanisms of PD. If confirmed, this hypothesis would represent a valuable advancement in care of patients with Parkinson's disease.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood*
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / blood
  • Parkinson Disease / etiology
  • Parkinson Disease / parasitology*
  • Toxoplasma / immunology*
  • Toxoplasmosis / blood
  • Toxoplasmosis / complications*


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M