Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Toxoplasma and reaction time: role of toxoplasmosis in the origin, preservation and geographical distribution of Rh blood group polymorphism

  • M. NOVOTNÁ (a1), J. HAVLÍČEK (a2), A. P. SMITH (a3), P. KOLBEKOVÁ (a1), A. SKALLOVÁ (a1), J. KLOSE (a4), Z. GAŠOVÁ (a5), M. PÍSAČKA (a5), M. SECHOVSKÁ (a6) and J. FLEGR (a1)...
Abstract
SUMMARY

The RhD protein which is the RHD gene product and a major component of the Rh blood group system carries the strongest blood group immunogen, the D-antigen. This antigen is absent in a significant minority of the human population (RhD-negatives) due to RHD deletion or alternation. The origin and persistence of this RhD polymorphism is an old evolutionary enigma. Before the advent of modern medicine, the carriers of the rarer allele (e.g. RhD-negative women in the population of RhD-positives or RhD-positive men in the population of RhD-negatives) were at a disadvantage as some of their children (RhD-positive children born to pre-immunized RhD-negative mothers) were at a higher risk of foetal or newborn death or health impairment from haemolytic disease. Therefore, the RhD-polymorphism should be unstable, unless the disadvantage of carriers of the locally less abundant allele is counterbalanced by, for example, higher viability of the heterozygotes. Here we demonstrated for the first time that among Toxoplasma-free subjects the RhD-negative men had faster reaction times than Rh-positive subjects and showed that heterozygous men with both the RhD plus and RhD minus alleles were protected against prolongation of reaction times caused by infection with the common protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Our results suggest that the balancing selection favouring heterozygotes could explain the origin and stability of the RhD polymorphism. Moreover, an unequal prevalence of toxoplasmosis in different countries could explain pronounced differences in frequencies of RhD-negative phenotype in geographically distinct populations.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Department of Parasitology, Charles University, Viničná 7, CZ-128 44 Praha 2, Czech Republic. Tel: +420 221951821. Fax: +420 224919704. E-mail: flegr@email.cz
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

A. C. Allison (1954). The distribution of the sickle-cell trait in East Africa and elsewhere, and its apparent relationship to the incidence of subtertian malaria. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 48, 312318.

M. Berdoy , J. P. Webster and D. W. Macdonald (2000). Fatal attraction in rats infected with Toxoplasma gondii. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, B 267, 15911594.

S. Biver , S. Scohy , J. Szpirer , C. Szpirer , B. Andre and A. M. Marini (2006). Physiological role of the putative ammonium transporter RhCG in the mouse. Transfusion Clinique et Biologique 13, 167168.

A. Courtiere , J. Hardouin , A. Goujon , F. Vidal and T. Hasbroucq (2003). Selective effects of low-dose dopamine D-1 and D-2 receptor antagonists on rat information processing. Behavioural Pharmacology 14, 589598.

G. Daniels (2002). Human Blood Groups. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, UK.

J. P. Dubey , E. A. Rollor , K. Smith , O. C. H. Kwok and P. Thulliez (1997). Low seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in feral pigs from a remote island lacking cats. Journal of Parasitology 83, 839841.

R. A. Fisher , R. R. Race and G. L. Taylor (1944). Mutation and the Rhesus reaction. Nature, London 153, 106.

J. Flegr (2007). Effects of Toxoplasma on human behavior. Schizophrenia Bulletin 33, 757760.

J. Flegr , J. Havlíček , P. Kodym , M. Malý and Z. Šmahel (2002). Increased risk of traffic accidents in subjects with latent toxoplasmosis: a retrospective case-control study. Bmc Infectious Diseases 2, art-11.

J. Flegr , P. Kodym and V. Tolarová (2000). Correlation of duration of latent Toxoplasma gondii infection with personality changes in women. Biological Psychology 53, 5768.

J. Flegr , M. Preiss , J. Klose , J. Havlíček , M. Vitaková and P. Kodym (2003). Decreased level of psychobiological factor novelty seeking and lower intelligence in men latently infected with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Dopamine, a missing link between schizophrenia and toxoplasmosis? Biological Psychology 63, 253268.

J. B. S. Haldane (1942). Selection against heterozygosis in Man. Eugenics 11, 333340.

J. Havlíček , Z. Gašová , A. P. Smith , K. Zvára and J. Flegr (2001). Decrease of psychomotor performance in subjects with latent ‘asymptomatic’ toxoplasmosis. Parasitology 122, 515520.

J. Havlicek , S. C. Roberts and J. Flegr (2005). Women's preference for dominant male odour: effects of menstrual cycle and relationship status. Biology Letters 1, 256259.

S. Kahkonen , J. Ahveninen , E. Pekkonen , S. Kaakkola , J. Huttunen , R. J. Ilmoniemi and I. P. Jaaskelainen (2002). Dopamine modulates involuntary attention shifting and reorienting: an electromagnetic study. Clinical Neurophysiology 113, 18941902.

Š. Kaňková and J. Flegr (2007). Longer pregnancy and slower fetal development in women with latent “asymptomatic” toxoplasmosis. BMC Infectious Diseases 7, art-114.

Š. Kaňková , P. Kodym , D. Frynta , R. Vavřinová , A. Kuběna and J. Flegr (2007). Influence of latent toxoplasmosis on the secondary sex ratio in mice. Parasitology 134, 17091718.

S. Kustu and W. Inwood (2006). Biological gas channels for NH3 and CO(2): evidence that Rh (rhesus) proteins are CO(2) channels. Transfusion Clinique et Biologique 13, 103110.

L. Hogben (1943). Mutation and the Rhesus reaction. Nature, London 152, 721722.

C. C. Li (1953). Is the Rh facing a cross-road? A critique of the compensation effect. American Naturalist 87, 257261.

P. Kolbekova , E. Kourbatova , M. Novotna , P. Kodym and J. Flegr (2007). New and old risk-factors for Toxoplasma gondii infection: prospective cross-sectional study among military personnel in the Czech Republic. Clinical Microbiology and Infection 13, 10121017.

J. Lindová , M. Novotná , J. Havlíček , E. Jozífková , A. Skallová , P. Kolbeková , Z. Hodný , P. Kodym and J. Flegr (2006). Gender differences in behavioural changes induced by latent toxoplasmosis. International Journal for Parasitology 36, 14851492.

A. Nieoullon (2002). Dopamine and the regulation of cognition and attention. Progress in Neurobioogy 67, 5383.

M. Novotná , J. Hanušová , J. Klose , M. Preiss , J. Havlicek , K. Roubalová and J. Flegr (2005). Probable neuroimmunological link between Toxoplasma and cytomegalovirus infections and personality changes in the human host. BMC Infectious Diseases 5, art-54.

J. S. Remington and J. L. Krahenbuhl (1982). Immunology of Toxoplasma gondii. In Immunology of Human Infection, Part II (ed. A. J. Nahmias and J. O'Reilly ), pp. 327371. Plenum Publishing Corporation, New York, USA.

P. Rihet , C. A. Possamai , J. Micallef-Roll , O. Blin and T. Hasbroucq (2002). Dopamine and human information processing: a reaction-time analysis of the effect of levodopa in healthy subjects. Psychopharmacology 163, 6267.

A. P. Smith , D. A. J. Tyrrell , W. Al-Nakib , P. G. Barrow , P. G. Higgins , S. Leekam and S. Trickett (1989). Effects and after-effects of the common cold and influenza on human performance. Neuropsychobiology 21, 9093.

E. F. Torrey and R. H. Yolken (1995). Could schizophrenia be a viral zoonosis transmitted from house cats? Schizophrenia Bulletin 21, 167171.

J. Warren and A. B. Sabin (1942). The complement fixation reaction in toxoplasmic infection. Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 51, 1116.

K. Yereli , I. C. Balcioglu and A. Ozbilgin (2006). - Is Toxoplasma gondii a potential risk for traffic accidents in Turkey? Forensic Science International. 163, 3437.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Parasitology
  • ISSN: 0031-1820
  • EISSN: 1469-8161
  • URL: /core/journals/parasitology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score