Borna disease virus (BDV) infection in psychiatric patients and healthy controls in Iran.


Borna disease virus (BDV) is an evolutionary old RNA virus, which infects brain and blood cells of
humans, their primate ancestors, and other mammals. Human infection has been correlated to mood disorders and schizophrenia, but the impact of BDV on mental-health still remains controversial due to poor methodological and cross-national comparability.


first report from the Middle East aimed to determine BDV infection
prevalence in Iranian acute psychiatric disorder patients and healthy
controls through circulating immune complexes (CIC), antibodies (Ab) and
antigen (pAg) in blood plasma using a standardized triple enzyme immune
assay (EIA). Samples of 314 subjects (114 psychiatric cases, 69 blood
donors, and 131 healthy controls) were assayed and data analyzed
quantitatively and qualitatively.


CICs revealed a BDV prevalence of one third (29.5%) in healthy Iranian controls (27.5%
controls; 33.3% blood donors). In psychiatric patients CIC prevalence
was higher than in controls (40.4%) and significantly correlating with
bipolar patients exhibiting overt clinical symptoms (p = 0.005, OR =
1.65). CIC values were significantly elevated in bipolar (p = 0.001) and
major depressive disorder (p = 0.029) patients as compared to controls,
and in females compared to males (p = 0.031).


This study supports a similarly high prevalence of subclinical human BDV
infections in Iran as reported for central Europe, and provides again an
indication for the correlation of BDV infection and mood disorders.
Further studies should address the morbidity risk for healthy carriers
and those with elevated CIC levels, along with gender disparities.

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