Inflammatory processes in schizophrenia: a promising neuroimmunological target for the treatment of negative/cognitive symptoms and beyond

Pharmacol Ther. 2011 Oct;132(1):96-110. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2011.06.003. Epub 2011 Jun 15.


Emerging evidence indicates that schizophrenia is associated with activated peripheral and central inflammatory responses. Such inflammatory processes seem to be influenced by a number of environmental and genetic predisposition factors, and they may critically depend on and contribute to the progressive nature of schizophrenic disease. There is also appreciable evidence to suggest that activated inflammatory responses can undermine disease-relevant affective, emotional, social, and cognitive functions, so that inflammatory processes may be particularly relevant for the precipitation of negative and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia. Recent clinical trials of anti-inflammatory pharmacotherapy in this disorder provide promising results by showing superior beneficial treatment effects when standard antipsychotic drugs are co-administered with anti-inflammatory compounds, as compared with treatment outcomes using antipsychotic drugs alone. Given the limited efficacy of currently available antipsychotic drugs to ameliorate negative and cognitive symptoms, the further exploration of inflammatory mechanisms and anti-inflammatory strategies may open fruitful new avenues for improved treatment of symptoms undermining affective, emotional, social and cognitive functions pertinent to schizophrenic disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Inflammation Mediators / physiology*
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Neuroimmunomodulation*
  • Schizophrenia / complications
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenia / immunology
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Inflammation Mediators