We examine the role of the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii as a manipulatory parasite and question what role study of infections in its natural intermediate rodent hosts and other secondary hosts, including humans, may elucidate in terms of the epidemiology, evolution and clinical applications of infection. In particular, we focus on the potential association between T. gondii and schizophrenia. We introduce the novel term ‘T. gondii–rat manipulation–schizophrenia model’ and propose how future behavioural research on this model should be performed from a biological, clinical and ethically appropriate perspective.
The authors’ current research into Toxoplasma gondii-altered behaviour is funded by the Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI), Dunhill Medical Trust and the Medical Research Council. Deposited in PMC for release after 6 months.
- © 2013. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd