Infection of male rats with Toxoplasma gondii results in enhanced delay aversion and neural changes in the nucleus accumbens core
Soh, Linda Jing Ting
Lim, Lee Wei
Tan, Daniel Chia Wei
Date of Issue2015
School of Biological Sciences
Rats infected with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii exhibit reduced avoidance of predator odours. This behavioural change is likely to increase transmission of the parasite from rats to cats. Here, we show that infection with T. gondii increases the propensity of the infected rats to make more impulsive choices, manifested as delay aversion in an intertemporal choice task. Concomitantly, T. gondii infection causes reduction in dopamine content and neuronal spine density of the nucleus accumbens core, but not of the nucleus accumbens shell. These results are consistent with a role of the nucleus accumbens dopaminergic system in mediation of choice impulsivity and goal-directed behaviours. Our observations suggest that T. gondii infection in rats causes a syndromic shift in related behavioural constructs of innate aversion and making foraging decisions.
Proceedings of the royal society B
© 2015 The Author(s). This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, published by The Royal Society on behalf of The Author(s). It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.0042].