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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2014 Jan 3;48:142-8. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2013.09.003. Epub 2013 Sep 29.

Cytomegalovirus seropositivity and serointensity are associated with hippocampal volume and verbal memory in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

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  • 1INSERM, U955, Equipe 15 "Psychiatrie Génétique", Créteil F-94000, France; Fondation Fondamental, Créteil F-94010, France; AP-HP, Groupe Henri Mondor - Albert Chenevier, Pôle de Psychiatrie, Créteil, F-94000, France; Neurospin, CEA Saclay, Gif-Sur-Yvette, France. Electronic address: josselin.houenou@inserm.fr.



Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a member of the herpesviridae family that has a limbic and temporal gray matter tropism. It is usually latent in humans but has been associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and cognitive deficits in some populations. Hippocampal decreased volume and dysfunction play a critical role in these cognitive deficits. We hypothesized that CMV seropositivity and serointensity would be associated with hippocampal volume and cognitive functioning in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.


102 healthy controls, 118 patients with bipolar disorder and 69 patients with schizophrenia performed the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) and had blood samples drawn to assess CMV IgG levels. A subgroup of 52 healthy controls, 31 patients with bipolar disorder and 27 patients with schizophrenia underwent T1 MRI for hippocampal volumetry. We analyzed the association between CMV serointensity and seropositivity with hippocampal volume. We also explored the correlation between CMV serointensity and seropositivity and CVLT scores.


In both patient groups but not in controls, higher CMV serointensity was significantly associated with smaller right hippocampal volume. Further, in the group of patients with schizophrenia but not bipolar disorder, CMV serointensity was negatively correlated with CVLT scores.


CMV IgG titers are associated with decreased hippocampal volume and poorer episodic verbal memory in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The mechanism of this association warrants further exploration.

© 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


BD; Bipolar disorder; CMV; CVLT; CVLT Recall score for list A; CVLT-RC-A; California Verbal Learning Test; Cytomegalovirus; HC; Hippocampus; MADRS; Montgomery–Asberg Depression Scale; PANSS; Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale; Schizophrenia; Verbal memory; YMRS; Young Mania Rating Scale; bipolar disorder; cytomegalovirus; healthy controls

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