Infectious agents are associated with psychiatric diseases

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Daniela Lydia Krause *
Elif Weidinger
Judith Matz
Agnes Wildenauer
Jenny Katharina Wagner
Michael Obermeier
Michael Riedel
Hans-Jürgen Möller
Norbert Müller
(*) Corresponding Author:
Daniela Lydia Krause |


There are several infectious agents in the environment that can cause persistent infections in the host. They usually cause their symptoms shortly after first infection and later persist as silent viruses and bacteria within the body. However, these chronic infections may play an important role in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and Tourette’s syndrome (TS). We investigated the distribution of different neurotrophic infectious agents in TS, schizophrenia and controls. A total of 93 individuals were included (schizophrenic patients, Tourette patients and controls). We evaluated antibodies against cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes-simplex virus (HSV), Epstein-Barr virus, Toxoplasma, Mycoplasma and Chlamydia trachomatis/pneumoniae. By comparing schizophrenia and TS, we found a higher prevalence of HSV (P=0.017) and CMV (P=0.017) antibodies in schizophrenic patients. Considering the relationship between schizophrenia, TS and healthy controls, we showed that there are associations for Chlamydia trachomatis (P=0.007), HSV (P=0.027) and CMV (P=0.029). When all measured viruses, bacteria and protozoa were combined, schizophrenic patients had a higher rate of antibodies to infectious agents than TS patients (P=0.049). Tourette and schizophrenic patients show a different vulnerability to infectious agents. Schizophrenic patients were found to have a higher susceptibility to viral infections than individuals with TS. This finding might point to a modification in special immune parameters in these diseases.

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