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Schizophrenia patients with a history of childhood trauma have a pro-inflammatory phenotype

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2012

U. Dennison*
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
D. McKernan
Affiliation:
Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
J. Cryan
Affiliation:
Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland Department of Anatomy, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
T. Dinan
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
*
*Address for correspondence: Dr U. Dennison, c/o City General Hospital, Infirmary Road, Cork, Ireland. (Email: una.dennison@hse.ie)

Abstract

Background

Increasing evidence indicates that childhood trauma is a risk factor for schizophrenia and patients with this syndrome have a pro-inflammatory phenotype. We tested the hypothesis that the pro-inflammatory phenotype in schizophrenia is associated with childhood trauma and that patients without a history of such trauma have a similar immune profile to healthy controls.

Method

We recruited 40 schizophrenia patients and 40 controls, all of whom completed the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) techniques, we measured peripheral levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α. These immune parameters were compared in schizophrenia with childhood trauma, schizophrenia without childhood trauma and healthy controls.

Results

Patients with childhood trauma had higher levels of IL-6 and TNF-α than patients without trauma and healthy controls, and TNF-α levels correlated with the extent of the trauma. Patients with no trauma had similar immune profiles to controls.

Conclusions

Childhood trauma drives changes, possibly epigenetic, that generate a pro-inflammatory phenotype.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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