Large scale clinical and individual case studies implicating the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, in the pathogenesis and expression of scleroderma. Toxoplasmosis is an infectious disease that may be passed by poorly-cooked food containing cysts, exposure to infected cat feces during pregnancy leading to fetal transmission, and rarely by blood transfusion. Immune-incompetent individuals may also be susceptible to reactivated latent infection.
[Morphea associated with toxoplasmosis]. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat Iasi. 2003 Jul-Sep;107(3):646-9.
Romanian case study of male patient with classic plaque-type morphea, diagnosed with Toxoplasma gondii, an intracellular protozoan parasite, by positive serology and histopathologic tissue examination of the skin lesions.
Toxoplasmosis mimicking a brain abscess in an adult with treated scleroderma. Neurology. 1975 Apr;25(4):343-5.
Case of 41-one-year-old male with scleroderma and infection with toxoplasmosis, confirmed histologically and serologically, presenting with meningitis and the appearance of a brain lesion. Resolution of meningitis occurred after 2 weeks of treatment with sulfisoxazole and pyrimethamine.
Note: The author of this case study does not draw a correlation to scleroderma etiopathogenesis with toxoplasmosis, and treatment was only provided for the acute infection. Although correlation does not imply causation, other independent studies have identified the infection in histopathologic studies of morphea tissue lesions and this raises the question of a potential relationship between the disease and the infection and the need for further study.
The Role of Infections in the Immunopathogensis of Systemic Sclerosis–Evidence from Serological Studies. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1173: 627–632. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04808.x
European study of 80 systemic scleroderma (SSc) patients with 296 healthy controls to determine whether infections may play a role in SSc. Indirect testing for antibodies in serology against hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-barr Virus (EBV), and Treponema pallidum were conducted. Of the infections tested, the most prevalent in those with SSc were antibodies against CMV, HBV, and toxoplasmosis. The authors conclude that these infections imply a role in SSc pathogenesis and expression.
Further studies on a possible correlation between scleroderma and toxoplasmosis (note that the following abstracts/full studies require purchase/subscription):
[Scleroderma and diagnostic tests for toxoplasmosis]. Przegl Dermatol. 1965 Nov-Dec;52(6):607-12.
[IS THERE A RELATION BETWEEN SCLERODERMA AND TOXOPLASMOSIS?]. Arch Klin Exp Dermatol. 1965 Mar 8;221:447-55.
[Toxoplasma infection in scleroderma]. Harefuah. 1979 Apr 1;96(7):338.
[Diffuse scleroderma in congenital toxoplasmosis]. Pediatr Pol. 1977 Oct;52(10):1155-9.