Cytokine alterations in first-episode schizophrenia patients before and after antipsychotic treatment.

Schizophrenia has been associated with central nervous system and
peripheral immune system imbalances. However, most studies have not
yielded conclusive results due to limitations such as small sample size,
dissimilarities in the clinical status of patients and the high
variability of cytokine levels within the normal human population. Here,
we have attempted to account for these limitations by carrying out
standardised multiplex immunoassay analyses of 9 cytokines in serum from
180 antipsychotic-naïve first-episode schizophrenia patients and 350
matched controls across 5 clinical cohorts. All subjects were matched
for potential confounding factors including age, gender, smoking and
body mass index. We found that the levels of interleukin (IL)-1RA, IL-10
and IL-15 were increased significantly in patients across the cohorts.
We also found that the levels of IL-1RA and IL-10 were decreased in 32
patients who had been followed up and treated for 6weeks with atypical
antipsychotics. Interestingly, we found that the changes in IL-10 levels
were significantly correlated with the improvements in negative,
general and total symptom scores. These results indicate that mixed pro-
and anti-inflammatory responses may be altered in first onset patients,
suggesting a role in the aetiology of schizophrenia. The finding that
only the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 responded to treatment in
parallel with symptom improvement suggests that this could be used as a
potential treatment response biomarker in future studies of

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