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Cytokine production in unmedicated and treated schizophrenic patients

Rothermundt, Matthias1,4; Arolt, Volker1; Leadbeater, John2,3; Peters, Marion1,2; Rudolf, Sebastian2; Kirchner, Holger2


Recent findings have strengthened the hypothesis that immunological dysfunctions may contribute towards the multifactorial pathogenesis of schizophrenia. The validity of these findings is questioned by the fact that most studied subjects have received potentially immunomodulatory medication upon investigation. In order to rule out such confounding effects, 24 initially unmedicated acutely ill schizophrenic patients were studied immunologically and psychiatrically (PANSS) before and during 4 weeks of neuroleptic treatment. The production of IFN-γ was decreased upon admission and after 2 weeks of treatment compared to matched healthy controls. No differences in IL-2 and IFN-γ production between unmedicated and medicated states were observed. These results do not support the notion that neuroleptic medication in vivo might influence TH1 cytokine production in schizophrenia.

1Department of Psychiatry, University of Münster Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 11, D-48129 Münster

2Department of Immunology, University of Lübeck School of Medicine, Germany

3Psychiatric Hospital Heiligenhafen, Germany

4Corresponding Author: Matthias Rothermundt

Acknowledgements: This study was supported by the Stiftung Volkswagenwerk (Volkswagenwerk Science Foundation, No. I 71/998). The authors thank Nicole Martens for technical assistance and Julian P. Keogh for critically reviewing the text.

Received 1 August 2000; accepted 16 August 2000

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.