Based on these analyses, it was clear that T. gondii can orchestrate a significant increase in dopamine production in neural cells says Dr McConkey.
A research group from the University of Leeds has shown that infection by the brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii, found in 10-20 per cent of the population, directly affects the production of dopamine, a key chemical messenger in the brain.
Their findings are the first to demonstrate that a parasite found in the brain of mammals can affect dopamine levels.
Humans are accidental hosts to T. gondii and the parasite could end up anywhere in the brain, so human symptoms of toxoplasmosis infection may depend on where parasite ends up. This may explain the observed statistical link between incidences of schizophrenia and toxoplasmosis infection