Prenatal depression and anxiety in Toxoplasma gondiipositive women

Maureen W. Gror, Robert H. Yolken, J. C. Xiao, Jason W. Beckstead, Dietmar Fuchs, Shyam S. Mohapatra, Andreas Seyfang, Teodor T. Postolache

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study analyzed a relationship between prenatal mood states and serologic evidence of immune response to Toxoplasma gondii. A secondary aim was to determine whether thyroid peroxidase autoantibody status was related to T gondii status. Study Design: Pregnant women (n = 414) were measured at 16-25 weeks' gestation with demographic and mood questionnaires and a blood draw. All plasma samples were analyzed for thyroid peroxidase and T gondii immunoglobulin G, tryptophan, kynurenine, and neopterin. T gondii serotypes were also measured in the women who were T gondii positive. Cytokines were available on a subset (n = 142). Results: Women with serologic evidence of exposure to T gondii (n = 44) showed positive correlations between immunoglobulin G levels and the Profile of Mood States depression and anxiety subscales. Plasma tumor necrosis factorα was higher in women who were positive for T gondii. Serotypes were type I (27%), type II (31%), and unclassified (42%, which shows intermediate levels of reactivity). The depression and anxiety scores were highest in type I, but this was not significant. The Profile of Mood States vigor score was lowest in type II, compared with the type I or unclassified groups. Conclusion: Higher T gondii immunoglobulin G titers in infected women were related to anxiety and depression during pregnancy. Subclinical reactivation of T gondii or immune responses to T gondii may worsen mood in pregnant women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433.e1-433.e7
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • depression
  • pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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