Cerebral Toxocariasis: Silent Progression to Neurodegenerative Disorders?

Chia-Kwung Fan, Celia V. Holland, Karen Loxton, Ursula Barghouth
  • Clinical Microbiology Reviews, June 2015, ASM Journals
  • DOI: 10.1128/cmr.00106-14

Cerebral Toxocariasis: Silent Progression to Neurodegenerative Disorders?

What is it about?

Toxocara canis and T. cati are highly prevalent nematode infections of the intestines of dogs and cats. In paratenic hosts, larvae do not mature in the intestine but instead migrate through the somatic tissues and organs of the body. The presence of these migrating larvae can contribute to pathology. Toxocara larvae can invade the brains of humans, and while case descriptions of cerebral toxocariasis are historically rare, improved diagnosis and greater awareness have contributed to increased detection. Despite this, cerebral or neurological toxocariasis (NT) remains a poorly understood phenomenon. Furthermore, our understanding of cognitive deficits due to toxocariasis in human populations remains particularly deficient. Recent data describe an enhanced expression of biomarkers associated with brain injury, such as GFAP, APP, transforming growth factor 1 (TGF-1), NF-L, S100B, tTG, and p-tau, in mice receiving even low doses of Toxocara ova. Our hypothesis is to explore the relationship between the presence of T. canis larvae in the brain and the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) due to enhanced AD-associated neurodegenerative biomarker expression.

Why is it important?

It is very important but always ignored that neurotoxocariasis may progress into neurodegenerative diseases in a silent way.


Professor Chia Kwung Fan (Author)
Department of Molecular Parasitology and Tropical Diseases, Taipei Medical University

Since worldwide seroprevalence is high, it is worthy of further investigations on whether neurodegenerative patients are caused by this tiny larvae of Toxocara canis.

The following have contributed to this page: Professor Chia Kwung Fan