Toxoplasma gondii antibody titers and history of suicide attempts in patients with schizophrenia

Olaoluwa Okusaga, Patricia Langenberg, Aamar Sleemi, Dipika Vaswani, Ina Giegling, Annette M. Hartmann, Bettina Konte, Marion Friedl, Maureen W. Groer, Robert H. Yolken, Dan Rujescu, Teodor T. Postolache

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) a widespread neurotropic parasite, has been previously associated with schizophrenia and more recently with suicidal behavior. However, no previous study has examined the association of T. gondii with suicidal behavior in schizophrenia patients. 950 individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia by SCID were recruited from the Munich area of Germany. Solid-enzyme immunoassay methods were used to measure IgG plasma antibodies to T. gondii, other neurotropic pathogens and gliadin. Logistic regression models were developed to analyze the association of T. gondii seropositivity or serointensity with history of suicidal behavior. In those younger than the median age of the sample, 38, T. gondii serointensity was associated with history of suicidal behavior (p = 0.02), while in the older patients the relationship was not significant (p = 0.21). Seropositivity was also associated with history of suicide attempt in younger patients, odds ratio 1.59 (95% CI 1.06 to 2.40), p = 0.03. Seropositivity for CMV (p = 0.22), HSV-1 (p = 0.36) and gliadin (p = 0.92) was not related to history of suicide attempt in the entire sample or any age subgroup. T. gondii serology might become, with interaction with vulnerability genes, a candidate biomarker for a subgroup of schizophrenia patients prone to attempting suicide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-155
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Schizophrenia
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Toxoplasma gondii

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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