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Am J Psychiatry. 1999 Nov;156(11):1725-9.

Accumulation of macrophages in the CSF of schizophrenic patients during acute psychotic episodes.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Helsinki University, and Hesperia Hospital, Finland.



There have been numerous reports of organic or structural abnormalities in the central nervous system (CNS) of patients with schizophrenia. Given that pathological conditions in the CNS are frequently reflected in the cell profiles of CSF, the authors compared the cytology of CSF from schizophrenic patients with that from a reference population in order to find out trails of elementary pathogenetic events in this serious psychiatric disease.


CSF samples from 35 patients with acute schizophrenia and 46 comparison subjects were prepared by Millipore filtration. The total and differential counts of CSF mononuclear cells were performed by light microscopy.


At the beginning of treatment, the proportion of mononuclear phagocytes/macrophages in the patients' CSF was significantly higher than that in the comparison subjects. During treatment with conventional neuroleptic medication, the cytology returned to normal in several patients.


The high proportion of macrophages in schizophrenia without a significantly higher total cell count may reflect neurodevelopmental disorder, a neurodegenerative process, or subtle CNS immunoactivation with mobilization of microglia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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