Cytokine and growth factor involvement in schizophrenia--support for the developmental model

Mol Psychiatry. 2000 Nov;5(6):594-603. doi: 10.1038/


Medical treatment with various cytokines can provoke psychiatric symptoms. Conversely, psychiatric patients can display abnormalities in cytokine and neurotrophic factor expression. Such observations have pointed to the potential contribution of cytokines and growth factors to schizophrenic pathology and/or etiology. The cellular targets of the relevant factors and the nature of their actions remain to be explored in mental illness, however. Recent physiological studies demonstrate that cytokines and neurotrophic factors can markedly influence synaptic transmission and plasticity upon acute or chronic application. Moreover, many of the molecular alterations observed in the schizophrenic brain are consistent with abnormalities in cytokine and neurotrophic factor regulation of these molecules. In this review, we summarize these molecular pathology findings for schizophrenia and highlight the neurodevelopmental activities of cytokines and neurotrophic factors that may contribute to the etiology or pathology of this illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / physiology*
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Schizophrenia / etiology
  • Schizophrenia / pathology
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Cytokines