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J Psychiatr Res. 2008 Aug;42(10):868-76. Epub 2007 Nov 14.

S100B-immunopositive glia is elevated in paranoid as compared to residual schizophrenia: a morphometric study.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Magdeburg, Magdeburg, Germany.



Several studies have revealed increased S100B levels in peripheral blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with schizophrenia. In this context, it was postulated that elevated levels of S100B may indicate changes of pathophysiological significance to brain tissue in general and astrocytes in particular. However, no histological study has been published on the cellular distribution of S100B in the brain of individuals with schizophrenia to clarify this hypothesis.


The cell-density of S100B-immunopositive glia was analyzed in the anterior cingulate, dorsolateral prefrontal (DLPF), orbitofrontal, and superior temporal cortices/adjacent white matter, pyramidal layer/alveus of the hippocampus, and the mediodorsal thalamic nucleus of 18 patients with schizophrenia and 16 matched control subjects.


Cortical brain regions contained more S100B-immunopositive glia in the schizophrenia group relative to controls (P=0.046). This effect was caused by the paranoid schizophrenia subgroup (P=0.018). Separate analysis of white matter revealed no diagnostic main group effect (P=0.846). However, the white matter of patients with paranoid schizophrenia contained more (mainly oligodendrocytic) S100B-positive glia as compared to residual schizophrenia (P=0.021). These effects were particularly pronounced in the DLPF brain area.


Our study reveals distinct histological patterns of S100B immunoeactive glia in two schizophrenia subtypes. This may be indicative of a heterogenic pathophysiology or distinct compensatory abilities: Astro-/oligodendroglial activation may result in increased cellular S100B in paranoid schizophrenia. On the contrary, residual schizophrenia may be caused by white matter oligodendroglial damage or dysfunction, associated with a release of S100B into body fluids.

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