The Role of Toxoplasma gondii Infection Among Multiple Sclerosis Patient Compared to Ordinary People in South of Iran: A Case-Control Study

Background: Toxoplasmosis is a common parasitic disease, which leads to serious disease symptoms in immunocompromised hosts and infants. Recent epidemiologic surveys showed that microbial agents may be associated with some cases of multiple sclerosis (MS). Objectives: This case-control study aimed to examine the role of Toxoplasma gondii in MS by evaluating sero-frequency of anti-T. gondii IgG (ATXAb) antibody between patients with MS and ordinary people in Shiraz Province, south of Iran during 2016 - 2018. Methods: Serum samples obtained from MS patients (n = 130), and a group of age and gender-matched controls (n = 130) with the same socioeconomic status with the patients’ group were collected to evaluate the prevalence of T. gondii IgG antibodies (ATXAb). Moreover, the presence of the ATXAb antibody of the patients and controls was determined by the ELISA test. SPSS 20 software was used to perform the statistical analysis (SPSS, inc., Chicago, USA). Results: Out of 130 (35.4%) cases with MS and 130 (13.8%) controls, 46 and 18 subjects were seropositive for ATXAb, respectively. Based on the chi-square test, a significant difference was observed in terms of the positivity rates of ATXAb between the MS patient group and the control group (P = 0.001). The mean ± standard deviation ATXAb levels in controls and MS patients were found to be 61 ± 34 and 114 ± 47 IU/mL, respectively. Also, there were statistically significant differences between the levels of these two groups (P = 0.001). Conclusions: Given the relationship between toxoplasmosis and MS, it is possible that the prevalence of MS decreases by increasing hygiene and preventing toxoplasmosis.