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Author Notes:

Corresponding author: Erica Duncan, MD, Atlanta Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 1670 Clairmont Road, MHSL 116A, Decatur, GA 30033, Phone: 1-404-321-6111 x7532, Fax: 1-404-417-2911

ED and BDP designed the study.

Subjects and data were collected by ED, WH, RG.

TOXO assays were conducted by BP, HNR, SH, PPW, MCF.

Data analysis was conducted by NB, WH, MCF, SH, ED.

JLJ and MHH consulted on study design, TOXO assays, and data analysis.

The first draft was written by ED and BDP.

All authors edited and approved the manuscript.

Dr. Duncan has received grant support from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Ortho-McNeil Janssen Scientific Affairs, GlaxoSmithKline not related to the content of this study.

No other authors have any disclosures.


Research Funding:

Funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs Merit Review Program (ED).

Additional salary support was provided to ED from NIDA (R01DA018294-01A2) and BDP (NIMH (1R21MH083138-01A1).

Infrastructure support was provided by the Mental Health and R&D Services of the Atlanta Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At Emory University the following also provided infrastructure support: the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Emory University School of Medicine, the Department of Psychology, and Rollins School of Public Health.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Schizophrenia
  • Toxoplasma gondii
  • Acoustic startle
  • Latency
  • RATS

Toxoplasma gondii exposure affects neural processing speed as measured by acoustic startle latency in schizophrenia and controls

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Journal Title:

Schizophrenia Research


Volume 150, Number 1


, Pages 258-261

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


The prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii (TOXO) infection in schizophrenia (SCZ) is elevated compared to controls (odds ratio = 2.73). TOXO infection is associated with psychomotor slowing in rodents and non-psychiatric humans. Latency of the acoustic startle response, an index of neural processing speed, is the time it takes for a startling stimulus to elicit the reflexive response through a three-synapse subcortical circuit. We report a significant slowing of latency in TOXO seropositive SCZ vs. seronegative SCZ, and in TOXO seropositive controls vs. seronegative controls. Latency was likewise slower in SCZ subjects than in controls. These findings indicate a slowing of neural processing speed with chronic TOXO infection; the slowest startle latency was seen in the TOXO seropositive SCZ group.

Copyright information:

© 2013.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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