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Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2000 Mar;10(2):119-24.

Effects of atypical antipsychotics on the inflammatory response system in schizophrenic patients resistant to treatment with typical neuroleptics.

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  • 1IRCCS, Istituto, Fatebenefratelli, Brescia, Italy.


There is now some evidence that schizophrenia may be accompanied by an activation of the inflammatory response system (IRS) and that typical antipsychotics may suppress some signs of IRS activation in that illness. This study was carried out to examine (i) the serum concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-6 receptor (IL-6R), IL-1R antagonist (IL-1RA) and Clara Cell protein (CC16), an endogenous anticytokine, in nonresponders to treatment with typical neuroleptics and (ii) the effects of atypical antipsychotics on the above IRS variables. The above parameters were determined in 17 patients with treatment-resistant schizophrenia (TRS) to treatment with neuroleptics and in seven normal volunteers and 14 schizophrenic patients who had a good response to treatment with antipsychotic agents. Patients with TRS had repeated measurements of the IRS variables before and 2 and 4 months after treatment with atypical antipsychotics. Serum IL-6 was significantly higher in schizophrenic patients, irrespective of their response to typical antipsychotics, than in normal controls. Serum IL-1RA was significantly higher in the TRS patients than in controls, whereas responders took up an intermediate position. The serum concentrations of CC16 were significantly lower after treatment with atypical antipsychotics during 4 months than before treatment. It is concluded that (i) schizophrenia and, in particular, TRS is characterized by an activation of the monocytic arm of cell-mediated immunity and (ii) atypical antipsychotics may decrease the anti-inflammatory capacity of the serum in TRS patients.

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