This is an uncorrected proof.
A possible role for Toxoplasma gondii in the etiopathogenesis of schizophrenia is supported by epidemiological studies and animal models of infection. However, recent studies attempting to link Toxoplasma to schizophrenia have yielded mixed results. We performed a nested case-control study measured serological evidence of exposure to Toxoplasma gondii in a cohort of 2052 individuals. Within this cohort, a total of 1481 individuals had a psychiatric disorder and 571 of were controls without a psychiatric disorder. We found an increased odds of Toxoplasma exposure in individuals with a recent onset of psychosis (OR 2.44, 95% Confidence Interval 1.4–4.4, p < .003). On the other hand, an increased odds of Toxoplasma exposure was not found in individuals with schizophrenia or other psychiatric disorder who did not have a recent onset of psychosis. By identifying the timing of evaluation as a variable, these findings resolve discrepancies in previous studies and suggest a temporal relationship between Toxoplasma exposure and disease onset.
The protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii has been previously associated with an increased risk of serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. However, this association has been found in some studies and not others. We examined whether the differences among previous studies might be explained by the timing of patient evaluation and testing. We found that individuals who were evaluated soon after the onset of psychosis had increased odds of exposure to Toxoplasma gondii as evidenced by the measurement of antibodies in their blood. However. we did not find an increased rate of exposure to Toxoplasma gondii in individuals who had a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder but who did not have recent onset psychosis. Our findings are consistent with Toxoplasma exposure occurring around the time of onset of psychiatric symptoms in individuals with schizophrenia. Our findings might lead to the evaluation of new methods for the early treatment of schizophrenia in some individuals.