Background: Immune markers have been associated with schizophrenia, but few studies have examined multiple markers in both recent onset and chronic schizophrenia patients.
Methods: The sample of 588 individuals included 79 with recent onset psychosis, 249 with chronic schizophrenia, and 260 controls. A combined inflammation score was calculated by principal components factor analysis of the levels of C-reactive protein, Pentraxin 3, and IgG antibodies to gliadin, casein, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae measured in blood samples. Inflammation scores among groups were compared by multivariate analyses.
Results: The chronic schizophrenia group showed significant elevations in the combined inflammation score compared with controls. The recent onset group surprisingly showed a reduction in the combined inflammation score. Consistent with these findings, the chronic schizophrenia group had significantly increased odds of a combined inflammation score greater than the 75th and the 90th percentile of that of the controls. The recent onset group had significantly increased odds of a combined inflammation score less than the 10th and the 25th percentile level of the controls.
Conclusions: The recent onset of psychosis may be associated with inherent deficits in innate immunity. Individuals later in the course of disease may have increased levels of innate immunity. The reasons for these changes are not known with certainty but may be related to compensatory increases as the disease progresses. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine the course of immune abnormalities in schizophrenia and their role in the clinical manifestations of the disorder.
Keywords: immunity; inflammation; psychosis; schizophrenia.
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