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PLoS One :寄生虫可改变老鼠脑结构

来源:中新网 2013-11-27 11:08

据外媒19日报道,研究人员称,当老鼠被一种叫做弓形虫的寄生虫感染后,该寄生虫可以抑制老鼠对猫的天生恐惧感。不过,即使老鼠不再受到弓形虫的感染,感染过弓形虫的老鼠接触到猫尿时,也不再有恐惧的反应。

报道称,美国加州大学伯克利分校的研究小组在美国《公共科学图书馆—综合》(Plos One)杂志上发表的报告说,感染弓形虫可能对老鼠的大脑造成永久性的改变。

研究人员英格拉姆和她的同事针对老鼠对猫尿的反应进行了研究。一般来说,猫会通过四处小便来划定自己的势力范围,老鼠闻到猫尿的气味后,自然会躲避有关区域,以免被捕杀。实验显示,未感染弓形虫的老鼠很讨厌猫尿,但感染过弓形虫的老鼠则自由自在地走过猫尿实验区域。

英格拉姆说,即使消除了感染,但曾经感染弓形虫的老鼠还是存在巨大的行为改变。她说,短暂感染能导致主体生物产生永久性的行为改变,这对传染病医学研究具有重大意义。

老鼠通常是吃了猫的粪便后感染寄生虫。寄生虫会进入老鼠身体的每个器官,包括大脑,并在那里形成囊肿。

弓形虫也可以传染人类。据估计,每年有35万人感染弓形体病。弓形体病能对孕妇带来严重的并发症,并对免疫系统已经很弱的患者带来不利影响。

英格拉姆表示,实验结果显示,目前对传染病的看法有可能因此需要改变。(生物谷Bioon.com)

生物谷推荐的英文摘要

PLoS One                 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075246

Mice Infected with Low-Virulence Strains of Toxoplasma gondii Lose Their Innate Aversion to Cat Urine, Even after Extensive Parasite Clearance

Wendy Marie Ingram, Leeanne M. Goodrich, Ellen A. Robey mail, Michael B. Eisen

Toxoplasma gondii chronic infection in rodent secondary hosts has been reported to lead to a loss of innate, hard-wired fear toward cats, its primary host. However the generality of this response across T. gondii strains and the underlying mechanism for this pathogen-mediated behavioral change remain unknown. To begin exploring these questions, we evaluated the effects of infection with two previously uninvestigated isolates from the three major North American clonal lineages of T. gondii, Type III and an attenuated strain of Type I. Using an hour-long open field activity assay optimized for this purpose, we measured mouse aversion toward predator and non-predator urines. We show that loss of innate aversion of cat urine is a general trait caused by infection with any of the three major clonal lineages of parasite. Surprisingly, we found that infection with the attenuated Type I parasite results in sustained loss of aversion at times post infection when neither parasite nor ongoing brain inflammation were detectable. This suggests that T. gondii-mediated interruption of mouse innate aversion toward cat urine may occur during early acute infection in a permanent manner, not requiring persistence of parasite cysts or continuing brain inflammation.

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