The correlation between Toxoplasma gondii infection and prenatal depression in pregnant women

M. Nourollahpour Shiadeh, A. Rostami, B. D. Pearce, M. Gholipourmalekabadi, D. J. Newport, M. Danesh, S. Mehravar, S. J. Seyyedtabaei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Previous studies have demonstrated that latent toxoplasmosis is associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. We evaluated the correlation between Toxoplasma gondii infection and prenatal depression. In this case–control study, we enrolled 116 depressed pregnant women and 244 healthy controls. The Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS) was used to evaluate the depression symptom severity in study participants. All participants were screened for the anti-Toxoplasma IgG by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Seroprevalence of T. gondii did not significantly differ between the depressed pregnant women and healthy controls (OR = 1.4; 95 % CI = 0.9–2.19; P = 0.142). T. gondii IgG titer was significantly higher in depressed women (18.6 ± 10.9 IUs) than those in the control group (13.6 ± 8.1 IUs) (z = −5.36, P < 0.001). The T. gondii–positive depressed women showed a positive correlation of T. gondii IgG titer with the EPDS scores (r = 0.52; P < 0.01). The mean EPDS score was also significantly higher in the T. gondii–positive depressed women (20.7 ± 2.7) compared with the controls (18.36 ± 2.7) (P < 0.001). The results obtained from the current study revealed that T. gondii infection might affect susceptibility to depression and severity of depressive symptoms in pregnant women, particularly in those patients who have high antibody titers. Further study is required to fully elucidate the characteristics and mechanisms of this association.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1829-1835
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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