Indiana University scientists find possible explanation for effects of Toxoplasma Gondii on mice

Posted by Leanne Kodsman on

As the effects of Toxoplasma Gondii on human behavior are hotly debated extensive studies have been examining its effects on infected mice. These studies may have found a biological explanation for changes in their behavior.

Findings suggest that affected mice lose their ingrained fear of cats. This allows them to be eaten and gives the parasite a chance to successfully sexually reproduce. It is known that this can only occur in the intestines of members of the cat family.


As the effects of Toxoplasma Gondii on human behavior are hotly debated extensive studies have been examining its effects on infected mice. These studies may have found a biological explanation for changes in their behavior.

Findings suggest that affected mice lose their ingrained fear of cats. This allows them to be eaten and gives the parasite a chance to successfully sexually reproduce. It is known that this can only occur in the intestines of members of the cat family.

In a GEN article, it notes that scientists from Indiana University have discovered a plausible biological explanation for the changes in the mice's actions. While mapping the acetylome of astrocytes of infected mice, researchers found that the parasite was modulating the mice's cell expression of two important acetylation enzymes. This discovery offers a possible biochemical link for the reversal of innate behaviors such as the fear of cats.

The complete findings are publishing in PLoS One.


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