Navigation Links
Toxoplasmosis: The strain explains severity of infection
Date:3/14/2011

Providing clues into why the severity of a common parasitic infection can vary greatly from person to person, a new Johns Hopkins study shows that each one of three strains of the cat-borne parasite Toxoplasma gondii sets off a unique reaction in the nerve cells it invades.

Past research suggests that the parasite, estimated to infect 25 percent of people worldwide, can trigger or exacerbate psychotic symptoms and schizophrenia in genetically predisposed people.

The findings of the new study, published in the March issue of the journal Infection and Immunity, help explain why the infection causes serious disease in some but not in others and clarify its role in psychiatric disorders, the researchers say.

"We already know that toxoplasmosis can play a role in some psychiatric disorders, but up until now we didn't know why. Working with human nerve cells, our study shows the exact alterations triggered by each strain that can eventually manifest themselves as symptoms," says senior investigator Robert Yolken, M.D., a neurovirologist at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

The researchers injected human nerve cells with the three most common toxoplasma strains, each of which caused a different pattern of gene expression. One of the most basic functions in all living organisms, gene expression occurs when a gene is switched on to release a substance that tells cells what to do or not do, determining the cells' biologic behavior. Gene expression can be turned on and off, stepped up or down by various factors, including viral and bacterial invasions.

Cells infected with toxoplasma type I -- the most virulent strain in mice -- had the greatest impact on gene expression, altering more than 1,000 genes, 28 of them linked to brain development and central nervous system function and 31 others to nerve impulse and signaling.

Cells injected with the less virulent types II and III had low and moderate levels of gene expression. Infection with toxoplasma type II affected 78 genes, some of which were related to growth, certain hormones and circadian rhythm, while type III altered 344 genes, some of which were linked to metabolism.

A handful of genes were affected by all three strains, notably a gene called VIPR2 that regulates neurotransmitters and nerve signaling and may play a role in schizophrenia, the researchers say.

If these findings are confirmed in clinical studies with people, they could help physicians predict the severity of an infection by strain type and tailor treatments accordingly, the researchers say.

"While disease course in humans is often more unpredictable than what we see in the controlled setting of a lab, these results give us a fascinating first look into the distinct genetic cascade of reactions that each strain can unlock and may one day serve as the basis for individualized treatment of symptomatic infections," says lead investigator Jianchun Xiao, Ph.D., a neurovirologist at the Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology at Johns Hopkins.

A 2008 study by Yolken and colleagues revealed that toxoplasma infection increases the risk for schizophrenia and could precipitate the disease in genetically predisposed people, a classic example of how genes and environment come together in the development of disease.

Most infections with toxoplasma occur early in life following exposure to the parasite from cat feces or undercooked beef or pork.

Farm animals and rodents also get infected, but the parasite reaches full sexual reproduction only in cats. Infections rarely cause symptoms, but the parasite remains in the body and can reactivate after lying dormant for years.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ekaterina Pesheva
epeshev1@jhmi.edu
410-516-4996
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Ben-Gurion U. and PTT Chemical sign R&D agreement to commercialize green algae strain
2. H1N1 pandemic points to vaccine strategy for multiple flu strains
3. Muscle filaments make mechanical strain visible
4. Cholera strain evolves new mechanism for causing disease
5. New way of predicting dominant seasonal flu strain
6. This faster-growing E. coli strains a good thing
7. New strain of high-runner rats uniquely resistant to disease -- all disease!
8. Mans closest relationship under strain? New research reveals why chimpanzees attack humans
9. Scripps research scientists determine structure of immune molecule that counteracts HIV strains
10. High-strain tendons repair less frequently
11. Unexpectedly high rate of multiple strains in fungal infection
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/31/2016)... 2016   LegacyXChange, ... "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to release its ... to be launched online site for trading 100% guaranteed ... will also provide potential shareholders a sense of the ... an industry that is notorious for fraud. The video ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by ... & Others), Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by ... is expected to reach USD 26.76 Billion ...
(Date:3/17/2016)... 17, 2016 ABI Research, the leader ... global biometrics market will reach more than $30 ... from 2015. Consumer electronics, particularly smartphones, continue to ... anticipated to reach two billion shipments by 2021 ... Pavlakis , Research Analyst at ABI Research. "Surveillance ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... ... Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (SSI) will be showcasing a broad ... Expo. Shimadzu’s high-performance instruments enable laboratories to test cannabis products for potency, moisture, ... booth 1021 to learn how Shimadzu’s instruments can help improve QA/QC testing, peak ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... Columbia , April 27, 2016 ... "NanoStruck") (CSE: NSK) (OTCPink: NSKQB) ( Frankfurt ... Anschluss an ihre Pressemitteilung vom 13. August 2015 ... hat, ihre Finanzen um zusätzliche 200.000.000 Einheiten auf ... Kanadische Dollar zu bringen. Davon wurden 157.900.000 Einheiten ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... NDA ... joined the company as an Expert Consultant. Mr. Clark was formerly a ... managing the development of small molecule monographs based on analytical methods. NDA ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... ... Global Stem Cells Group CEO Benito Novas announced that Duncan ... affiliate Kimera Labs in Miami. , In 2004, Ross received his Ph.D. in Immunology ... disorders and the suppression of graft vs. host disease (GVHD) under UM Professor Robert ...
Breaking Biology Technology: