A population-based study of atopic disorders and inflammatory markers in childhood before psychotic experiences in adolescence

Schizophr Res. 2014 Jan;152(1):139-45. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2013.09.021. Epub 2013 Nov 22.


Objective: Schizophrenia is associated with atopy and increased inflammatory markers. We report a population-based longitudinal study of the associations between childhood atopic disorders, subsequent serum inflammatory markers, interleukin 6 (IL-6) and C-reactive protein (CRP), and the risk of psychotic experiences (PEs).

Method: PEs were assessed at age 13 years (n=6785). Presence of clinician-diagnosed atopic disorders (asthma and eczema) was determined from parent-completed questionnaires at age 10 years (n=7814). Serum IL-6 and CRP were measured at age 9 years (n=5076). Logistic regression examined the association between (1) atopy and PEs, (2) inflammatory markers and PEs, and (3) mediating effects of inflammatory markers on the atopy-PEs association. Linear regression examined the association between atopy and inflammatory markers. Age, gender, social class, ethnicity and body mass index were included as potential confounders.

Results: At age 10 years, about 14% of the sample was reported to have asthma, 12% eczema, and 7% both asthma and eczema. Compared with children with no atopy, risk of PEs at age 13 years was increased for all of these groups; adjusted odds ratios (95% CI) were, respectively, 1.39 (1.10-1.77), 1.33 (1.04-1.69), and 1.44 (1.06-1.94). Atopy was associated with increased serum IL-6 and CRP; however, this did not mediate association between atopy and PEs. Inflammatory markers were not associated with later PEs.

Conclusion: Childhood atopic disorders increase the risk of psychotic experiences in adolescence. Follow-up of these individuals will be useful to determine the effect of atopy and inflammation on different trajectories of early-life PEs.

Keywords: 95% confidence interval; ALSPAC; Adolescence; Asthma; Atopic disorders; Birth cohort; C-reactive protein; CI; CRP; Childhood; Cytokine; Eczema; IL-6; Immunity; Inflammatory markers; OR; PEs; Prospective study; Psychotic experiences; Psychotic symptoms; Schizophrenia; interleukin 6; odds ratio, 95%; psychotic experiences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Community Health Planning
  • Disease Progression
  • Eczema / blood
  • Eczema / complications
  • Eczema / epidemiology*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Male
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychotic Disorders* / blood
  • Psychotic Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Psychotic Disorders* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Interleukin-6
  • C-Reactive Protein