Toxoplasma gondii strain-dependent effects on mouse behaviour


Folia Parasitol (Praha). 2010 Jun;57(2):151-5

Kannan G, Moldovan K, Xiao JC, Yolken RH, Jones-Brando L, Pletnikov MV

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21287-5371, USA


Toxoplasma gondii reportedly manipulates rodent behavior to increase transmission to its definitive feline host. We compared the effects of mouse infection by two Type II strains of T. gondii, Prugniaud (PRU) and ME49, on attraction to cat odour, locomotor activity, sensorimotor gating, and spatial working and recognition memory 2 months post-infection (mpi). Attraction to cat odour was reassessed 7 mpi. At 2 mpi, mice infected with either strain exhibited significantly more attraction to cat odour than uninfected animals did, but only PRU-infected mice exhibited this behavior 7 mpi. PRU-infected mice had significantly greater body weights and hyperactivity, while ME49-infected mice exhibited impaired spatial working memory. No differences in parasite antibody titres were seen between PRU- and ME49-infected mice. The present data suggest the effect of T.gondii infection on mouse behavior is parasite strain-dependent.