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Schizophr Res. 1999 Jul 27;38(1):61-70.

T-cell subsets in schizophrenia: a comparison between drug-naive first episode patients and chronic schizophrenic patients.

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  • 1Department of Biological Psychiatry, Innsbruck University Clinics, Austria.


T-cell subsets (CD3+, CD4+, CD8+, NK-cells) and the CD4+/CD8+ ratio were measured in 56 schizophrenic patients admitted to hospital with an acute psychosis. Thirty-five patients with chronic schizophrenia and 21 drug-naive first episode schizophrenic patients were compared with 16 healthy controls. T-cell subsets were quantified in the acute state of the illness (day 0), after 7 days of treatment and at the time of discharge. In the acute state, schizophrenic patients showed higher CD3+ and CD4+ cells (p = 0.05) and a higher CD4/CD8 ratio (p = 0.02) than healthy controls, while NK-cells were lower (p = 0.05). In first episode patients, all T-cell alterations normalized during treatment. In the chronic group the ratio remained high, whereas the initially low number of NK-cells normalized over time. These findings, supporting immune system dysregulation in schizophrenia, are discussed in relation to psychopathology, the stage of illness and effects of medication.

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