Maternal T. gondii, offspring bipolar disorder and neurocognition

Psychiatry Res. 2016 Sep 30:243:382-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.06.057. Epub 2016 Jul 7.


Prenatal exposure to maternal Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) IgG antibody titer has been associated previously with an increased risk of offspring schizophrenia (SZ) and cognitive impairment. We examined maternal T. gondii, offspring bipolar disorder (BP) and childhood cognition using a population-based birth cohort. Maternal sera, drawn in the third trimester, were analyzed for T. gondii IgG antibody titer, and offspring cognition at ages 5 and 9-11 was measured with the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) and the Raven Matrices (Raven). Raw scores were standardized and the ages combined. Potential cases with BP from the cohort were identified by database linkages. This protocol identified 85 cases who were matched 1:2 to controls. Maternal T. gondii IgG was not associated with the risk of BP in offspring. Neither moderate [HR=1.43 (CI: 0.49, 4.17)] nor high IgG titer [HR=1.6 [CI: 0.74, 3.48)] were associated with offspring BP. Associations were not observed between maternal T. gondii and BP with psychotic features or BP type 1. In addition, maternal T. gondii was not associated with childhood cognition. Our study suggests that T. gondii may be specific to SZ among major psychotic disorders, though further studies with larger sample sizes are required.

Keywords: Birth cohort; Cognition; Neurodevelopment; PPVT; Psychotic disorders; Raven Matrices; Toxoplasma gondii.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood
  • Bipolar Disorder / blood
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / blood
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / blood
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / blood
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / diagnosis
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Toxoplasma* / metabolism
  • Toxoplasmosis / blood
  • Toxoplasmosis / diagnosis
  • Toxoplasmosis / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Immunoglobulin G