Many people become infected: how does the toxoplasmosis parasite transform the synapses in the brain?
Pets do a great job for most people. But some of the four-legged friends can infect the disease. For example, the pathogen is toxoplasmosis, an infectious disease often found in cat feces. In one study, the researchers showed how toxoplasmosis parasites reconstruct the synapses in the brain.
One of the most common infectious diseases
A few years ago, US scientists reported that some owners of cats had increased the likelihood of aggression and coercion. For those infected by Toxoplasma gondii. One-celled parasite worldwide is one of the most common infectious diseases, toxoplasmosis.
Single-celled parasites infect birds and mammals.
Single-celled parasite Toxoplasma gondii infects birds and mammals (including humans). But the last hosts are cats.
Researchers from the Institute for Inflammation and Neurodegeneration of the University of Otto von Guericke Magdeburg (OVGU) and Leibniz Neurobiology Institute (LIN) have investigated and demonstrated how the parasite affects the metabolism of the host's brain. alter the molecular composition of synapses.
The results of the scientists were published in the journal "Neuroinflammation Journal".
The disease usually goes unnoticed.
According to a report published by the Informationsdienst Wissenschaft (idw), about 30 to 50 percent of all people are infected with toxoplasmosis throughout their lives. Even for those over 50, they trust about 50 percent.
Most toxoplasmosis goes unnoticed and their infection does not suspect that they are infected.
"In healthy people, it triggers symptoms of short-term cold such as infection, chills, fever and body aches," he says. Dr. med. Ildiko Rita Dunay, Director of the Inflammation and Neurodegeneration Institute at OVGU.
"Such an infection can be dangerous for pregnant women or people with weakened immune system. There is no treatment to get rid of the parasites attacking your brain. So once infected, it will last a lifetime," says the expert.
Another problem is that toxoplasmosis is not frequently recognized in the newborn, as reported by experts from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in the "Scientific Reports" magazine.
Parasite is absorbed by people through digestion
Parasites, not only the nests in the muscle tissue of infected animals, but:
"Toxoplasma gondii is absorbed by humans through digestion, enters the bloodstream and also migrates to the brain where it lasts for life in nerve cells," says Dr. med. Karl-Heinz Smalla, one of the Molecular Biological Techniques of the Special Laboratory in LIN.
Previous studies of other German researchers have shown that toxoplasmosis can cause long-term serious consequences in the brain.
Even scientists from Magdeburg found in Toxoplasma gondii in previous experiments with mice in which they had amazing behavioral changes in infected animals:
"Rats hunting cats lost their natural fears against cats after infection. Researchers seemed to have developed a preference for cats, even if rodents were presented with the smell of cat urine.
Therefore, to explain these behavioral changes, they investigated changes in brain brains, especially the molecular composition of synapses, because these are the basic structures of signal processing in the brain.
In cooperation with the Helmholtz Infection Research Center in Braunschweig, a total of 300 synaptic proteins were able to demonstrate that brain levels were changed after a toxoplasmosis infection.
In particular, proteins are specifically reduced in the glutamate-release excitatory synapses. On the other hand, protein levels involved in immune responses were found to be high.
Improved immune response
For the treatment of toxoplasmosis infections Sulfadiazine, which partially inhibits the proliferation of toxoplasmosis, is frequently used.
"Now, we wanted to know how sulfadiazine treatment affects molecular changes in the brain caused by infection," says Björn Schott, a psychiatrist and neurologist.
Conclusion: The protein composition in mouse brains after treatment was comparable to uninfected features.
"All the proteins that were responsible for glutamaterge signal transduction were again in the normal range. In addition, the inflammatory activity also decreased measurably."
The infection results in an improved immune response that reduces proteins involved in glutamate-mediated synaptic stimulation, while sulfadiazine reduces toxoplasmas and thus normalizes the immune response, resulting in synaptic protein recovery.
The findings may also apply to people
These findings may also apply to humans.
Neuroimmunologist Dunay, "Toxoplasma gondii & # 39; s is a risk factor for neuropsychiatric disorders support the suggestion."
"Depression, schizophrenia and causes of autism have been associated with impaired glutamatergic synapses. In addition, components of the immune response refer to these diseases," the expert explains.
"This suggests that immune responses can cause synapse changes that can lead to neuropsychiatric disorders." (Advertisement)