Schizophrenia, infection and temperature. An animal model for investigating their interrelationships

Schizophr Res. 1993 Aug;10(2):95-102. doi: 10.1016/0920-9964(93)90043-i.


Two factors which seem to have a significant role in schizophrenia are infection and temperature. Evidence is presented that the schizophrenic population may be part of a sub-population which has preferential resistance to epidemic infection. This characteristic alone may not be responsible for vulnerability to schizophrenia. Part at least of the genetic predisposition to schizophrenia may lie in an abnormal response to hormonal disturbances in the intrauterine environment which may result from prenatal viral infection; this abnormal response may cause neurodevelopmental damage. Then in effect the vulnerability of some to schizophrenia will be the cost of population survival in epidemics. Dopamine is involved in central thermoregulation, and may be involved in response to infection. In two inbred mouse strains, one virus-resistant and the other virus-susceptible, there is also a difference in core body temperature response to dopamine. Because of the connection of dopamine sensitivity, temperature and resistance to infection the paired mouse strains are suggested as an animal model for studies relevant to schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Diseases in Twins
  • Dopamine / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Pool
  • Humans
  • Infections / complications*
  • Infections / physiopathology
  • Limbic System / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Schizophrenia / etiology*
  • Schizophrenia / genetics
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*


  • Dopamine