Journal Article

Prenatal Infection as a Risk Factor for Schizophrenia

Alan S Brown

in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Published on behalf of Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Volume 32, issue 2, pages 200-202
ISSN: 0586-7614
Published online February 2006 | e-ISSN: 1745-1701 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbj052
Prenatal Infection as a Risk Factor for Schizophrenia

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Accumulating evidence suggests that prenatal exposure to infection contributes to the etiology of schizophrenia. This line of investigation has been advanced by birth cohort studies that utilize prospectively acquired data from serologic assays for infectious and immune biomarkers. These investigations have provided further support for this hypothesis and permitted the investigation of new infectious pathogens in relation to schizophrenia risk. Prenatal infections that have been associated with schizophrenia include rubella, influenza, and toxoplasmosis. Maternal cytokines, including interleukin-8, are also significantly increased in pregnancies giving rise to schizophrenia cases. Although replication of these findings is required, this body of work may ultimately have important implications for the prevention of schizophrenia, the elaboration of pathogenic mechanisms in this disorder, and investigations of gene-environment interactions.

Keywords: infection; virus; schizophrenia; prenatal; epidemiology

Journal Article.  1444 words. 

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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