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Innate Immune Cells and C-Reactive Protein in Acute First-Episode Psychosis and Schizophrenia: Relationship to Psychopathology and Treatment

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posted on 2020-02-26, 00:00 authored by J Steiner, T Frodl, K Schiltz, H Dobrowolny, R Jacobs, Brisa Simoes Fernandes, P C Guest, G Meyer-Lotz, K Borucki, S Bahn, B Bogerts, P Falkai, H G Bernstein
© The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. Innate immunity has been linked to initiation of Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis. Moreover, risk of first-episode psychosis (FEP) and schizophrenia (Sz) is increased after various infections in predisposed individuals. Thus, we hypothesized an analogous role of innate immunity with increased C-reactive protein (CRP) in non-affective psychosis. Differential blood count, CRP, neutrophil and monocyte-macrophage activation markers, cortisol and psychotic symptoms (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale [PANSS]) were assessed in controls (n = 294) and acutely ill unmedicated FEP (n = 129) and Sz (n = 124) patients at baseline and after 6 weeks treatment. Neutrophils, monocytes, and CRP were increased in patients vs controls at baseline (P < .001), and neutrophil and monocyte counts correlated positively with activation markers. Eosinophils were lower at baseline in FEP (P < .001) and Sz (P = .021) vs controls. Differences in neutrophils (P = .023), eosinophils (P < .001), and CRP (P < .001) were also present when controlling for smoking and cortisol, and partially remitted after antipsychotic treatment. FEP patients with high neutrophils (P = .048) or monocytes (P = .021) had higher PANSS-P scores at baseline but similar disease course. CRP correlated with PANSS-P at baseline (ρ = 0.204, P = .012). Improvement of positive symptoms after treatment correlated with declining neutrophils (ρ = 0.186, P = .015) or CRP (ρ = 0.237, P = .002) and rising eosinophils (ρ = -0.161, P = .036). In FEP, normalization of neutrophils (ρ = -0.231, P = .029) and eosinophils (ρ = 0.209, P = .048) correlated with drug dosage. In conclusion, innate immune system activation correlated with PANSS-P, supporting the immune hypothesis of psychosis. Neutrophil and monocyte counts and CRP levels may be useful markers of disease acuity, severity, and treatment response.

History

Journal

Schizophrenia bulletin

Volume

46

Issue

2

Pagination

363 - 373

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Location

Oxford, England

eISSN

1745-1701

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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