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Neurosci Lett. 1999 Aug 20;271(2):126-8.

Evidence for activation of microglia in patients with psychiatric illnesses.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Bonn Medical Center, Germany.


Activation of microglia/macrophages is a key event in response to pathological changes in the CNS. HLA-DR is a valuable immunohistochemical marker that specifically reacts with activated microglia cells. In order to elucidate a potential role of microgliosis in severe psychiatric illnesses, post-mortem frontal cortex and hippocampus of patients with schizophrenia (n = 14) and affective disorder (n = 6) and control specimens (n = 13) were studied. Additionally Alzheimer's disease cases (n = 8) were included as a human model system with typical neurodegenerative alterations and microglia activation. All patient groups revealed subjects with abundant microglia immunostaining (schizophrenia, three patients; affective disorder, one patient; Alzheimer's disease, four patients) in both gray and white matter. This finding provides evidence for distinct neuropathological changes in brains of patients with schizophrenia and affective disorder. The activation of microglia cells, which represent a major part of the brain immune response, may help to unravel the pathophysiological processes in severe psychiatric illnesses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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