A large number of publications over the past 20 years have indicated that immune system function is altered in schizophrenia and mood disorder patients. This chapter reviews the evidence, which suggests that a proinflammatory state of the cytokine network induces psychopathologic symptoms and may be involved in the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of these major mental illnesses. The authors also present recent data, which relates immune activation to present theories on the influence of activated immune cells in altering brain function. They also focus on the role of the environment in immune activation and on the role of the microbiome and gut flora. Increased understanding of such factors could help in the development of novel treatment strategies and improved clinical management of mental disorders.
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