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Psychiatry Res. 2007 Aug 30;152(2-3):173-80. Epub 2007 Apr 20.

T- and B-lymphocytes in patients with schizophrenia in acute psychotic episode and the course of the treatment.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Ludwig-Maximilians-University, München, Germany.


Schizophrenia is associated with alterations of the immune system. There are, however, only limited data dealing with immune parameters in unmedicated schizophrenic patients and the course of these parameters during treatment. In this study, we monitored CD19+ (B)- and CD3+ (T)-lymphocytes in the course of antipsychotic treatment. Forty patients diagnosed with an acute exacerbation of schizophrenia were tested before and after 3 days, 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 3 months of treatment with antipsychotics. The percentages of CD19+- and CD3+ -lymphocytes were analysed by flow cytometry using fluorescence conjugated anti-CD19 and anti-CD3 antibodies. Twenty healthy volunteers served as controls. In the acute state of psychosis, a significant reduction of the CD3+ -lymphocyte subpopulation was observed, while the percentage of CD19(+)-lymphocytes was increased. Both subpopulations levelled to those of the control group in the course of treatment. As expected, the levels of the immune parameters did not change in the healthy controls during the course of the study. The observed alterations of the CD19+ - and CD3+ -lymphocytes in the acute state of psychosis especially in patients with the paranoid subtype of schizophrenia, and the "normalization" during the observation period are discussed under the aspect of the immune hypothesis of schizophrenia, in particular of the type-1/type-2 imbalance hypothesis.

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