Birth by cesarean section and schizophrenia: results from the multicenter FACE-SZ data-set

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2017 Sep;267(6):587-594. doi: 10.1007/s00406-016-0708-3. Epub 2016 Jun 27.


Children born by cesarean section ("c-birth") are known to have different microbiota and a natural history of different disorders including allergy, asthma and overweight compared to vaginally born ("v-birth") children. C-birth is not known to increase the risk of schizophrenia (SZ), but to be associated with an earlier age at onset. To further explore possible links between c-birth and SZ, we compared clinical and biological characteristics of c-born SZ patients compared to v-born ones. Four hundred and fifty-four stable community-dwelling SZ patients (mean age = 32.4 years, 75.8 % male gender) were systematically included in the multicentre network of FondaMental Expert Center for schizophrenia. Overall, 49 patients (10.8 %) were c-born. These subjects had a mean age at schizophrenia onset of 21.9 ± 6.7 years, a mean duration of illness of 10.5 ± 8.7 years and a mean PANSS total score of 70.9 ± 18.7. None of these variables was significantly associated with c-birth. Multivariate analysis showed that c-birth remained associated with lower CRP levels (aOR = 0.07; 95 % CI 0.009-0.555, p = 0.012) and lower premorbid ability (aOR = 0.945; 95 % CI 0.898-0.994, p = 0.03). No significant association between birth by C-section and, respectively, age, age at illness onset, sex, education level, psychotic and mood symptomatology, antipsychotic treatment, tobacco consumption, birth weight and mothers suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder has been found. Altogether, the present results suggest that c-birth is associated with lower premorbid intellectual functioning and lower blood CRP levels in schizophrenia. Further studies should determine the mechanisms underlying this association.

Keywords: C-reactive protein (CRP); Cesarean section birth (C-section); Microbiota; Schizophrenia; Weight.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein*
  • Cesarean Section*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence / physiology*
  • Male
  • Schizophrenia / blood*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Waist Circumference
  • Young Adult


  • C-Reactive Protein