Mice infected with Toxoplasma gondii parasite show Alzheimer's improvements

March 21, 2012

The parasite Toxoplasma gondii has some favorable effects on the pathogenesis and progression of a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease, reports a Mar. 21 study in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite commonly hosted in cats and generally known for the potential complications it can cause for human pregnancies, suppressed the immune system. The researchers behind today's study, led by Eun-Hee Shin of the Seoul National University College of Medicine, found that this immune system suppression had positive effects on Alzheimer's disease mouse models, resulting in a significant decrease in the amount of b-amyloid plaque deposition, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, and better performance in behavior tests like a water maze.
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Citation: Jung B-K, Pyo K-H, Shin KY, Hwang YS, Lim H, et al. (2012) Toxoplasma gondii Infection in the Brain Inhibits Neuronal Degeneration and Learning and Memory Impairments in a Murine Model of Alzheimer's Disease. PLoS ONE 7(3): e33312. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033312

Financial Disclosure: This work was supported by the Basic Science Research Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (No. 2009-0076262 & No. 2011-0013824), and by the Seoul National University Bunding Hospital Research Fund (SNUBH No. 03-2010-016). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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