Is Toxoplasma gondii a Causal Agent in Migraine?

KÖSEOĞLU E., Yazar S., Koç I.

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF THE MEDICAL SCIENCES, vol.338, no.2, pp.120-122, 2009 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


Background: Many different tissues may be parasitized by Toxoplasma gondii, particularly, lung, heart, lymphoid organs, and the central nervous tissues. Tissue cysts of this parasite in the brain may spontaneously rupture, releasing parasites that cause antibody titers to rise. In immunocompetent subjects with acquired toxoplasmosis, the most frequent symptoms were lymphadenopathy and headache. In the neurogenic inflammation theory of the pathogenesis of migraine, the cause of initial release of ions and inflammatory agents has not been established. In this study, we aimed to investigate if T gondii infection is a possible cause of neurogenic inflammation of migraines. Methods: The anti-T gondii antibody status of 104 patients with migraine were studied and compared with those of control groups, 50 healthy subjects and 50 subjects with headache due to rhinosinusitis, by using a micro-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay technique. Results: Forty-six (44.2%) patients with migraine, 13 (26.0%) healthy control subjects, and 12 (24%) control subjects with rhinosinusitis were positive for anti-T gondii IgG antibody. The rate of positivity in the migraine patient group was statistically different from those of the control groups (P < 0.05). Conclusions: The results show the presence of chronic Toxoplasma infection in patients with migraine. Toxoplasma infection may contribute to neurogenic inflammation as the pathogenesis of migraine, as many studies in the literature have reported that Toxoplasma infection causes biochemical and immunologic changes.