Author(s): Dunja HinzeSelch, Walter Dubener, Skran Erdag, Sibylle Wilms
Individuals serologically positive for the chronic infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii (TG) display certain personality traits differently from uninfected individuals. Experimental data in mice demonstrate that TG infection modulates behaviour. However, psychiatric patients with a personality disorder have not yet been investigated systematically. In our sample containing 896 psychiatric inpatients with the primary diagnoses of schizophrenia, major depression, schizoaffective or bipolar disorder and 214 psychiatrically unaffected controls (same geographic region, sampled during same time period) we analysed for effects of the additional diagnosis of a personality disorder in the patients. Psychiatrically, a patient can meet the criteria of a personality disorder additionally to any of the mentioned primary diagnoses. We applied logistic regression and cross-table statistics, separated groups by the presence/absence of a personality disorder (ICD-10) and adjusted for age between groups. We found that among all patients the additional diagnosis of a personality disorder was significantly associated with TG infection. Furthermore, only in the patients with an additional personality disorder medium titre responses (1:16-1:64) were associated with chronic course and high C-reactive protein (CRP) levels whereas high titre response (>1:64) was associated with a more acute recurrent clinical course. In the older individuals only there was a preponderance of medium titre responses (1:16-1:64) among the patients with personality disorder compared to those without and controls. We conclude that TG infection and the host's response to it make a difference for the diagnosis of a personality disorder. Our data support that TG infection can modulate human behaviour and personality traits.