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Hum Exp Toxicol. 2014 Feb;33(2):115-22. doi: 10.1177/0960327113493305. Epub 2013 Jul 8.

Inflammation and schizophrenia: alterations in cytokine levels and perturbation in antioxidative defense systems.

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1Research Centre, Riyadh Military Hospital, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



Although several theories have been proposed including developmental/neurodegenerative processes, neurotransmitter abnormalities, viral infection, and immune dysfunction, the exact causative factor of schizophrenia is unclear. A relationship between inflammation and schizophrenia has been supported by abnormal cytokine production and altered antioxidant status. This study was aimed to examine the alterations in serum oxidative-antioxidative status and cytokine levels of schizophrenic patients.


A total of 91 schizophrenic patients from Saudi Arabia and 50 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were enrolled in the present study. Fresh blood samples were collected to measure the levels of cytokines and markers of oxidative stress by spectrophotometric assays simultaneously.


We observed that there was a significant increase in the levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6 and a decrease in the levels of interferon-γ. Lipid peroxides are elevated in serum, while total-sulfhydryl levels were decreased. Also, the activities of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase were decreased, while the activities of catalase, glutathione reductase, and myeloperoxidase were found to be elevated in serum.


We conclude that inflammation resulting from dysregulation of cytokines and altered antioxidant systems may play a critical role in the etiology of schizophrenia.


Schizophrenia; antioxidants; inflammation; inflammatory cytokines; oxidative stress

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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