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Schizophr Res. 2015 May;164(1-3):53-8. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2015.01.026. Epub 2015 Feb 21.

Effects of depression on the cytokine profile in drug naïve first-episode psychosis.

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Department of Psychiatry, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil; First Episode Psychosis Program, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas da Santa Casa de São Paulo (FCMSCSP), São Paulo, Brazil.
Genetics Division, Department of Morphology and Genetics, Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil.
Department of Psychiatry, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil.
Department of Psychiatry, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC, Australia; Department of Psychiatry, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand; Health Sciences Graduate Program, Health Sciences Center, State University of Londrina (UEL), Brazil.
Department of Psychiatry, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), São Paulo, Brazil. Electronic address:


Schizophrenia is accompanied by alterations in immuno-inflammatory pathways, including abnormalities in cytokine profile. The immune assessment of patients in a first episode of psychosis (FEP) and particularly in drug naïve patients is very important to further elucidate this association. The objectives of this study are to delineate the cytokine profile (IL-2, IL-10, IL-4, IL-6, IFNγ, TNFα and IL-17) in FEP patients (n=55) versus healthy controls (n=57) and to examine whether the presence of depressive symptoms in FEP is accompanied by a specific cytokine profile. We found increased levels of IL-6, IL-10 and TNFα in FEP patients when compared to healthy controls. FEP patients with depression showed higher IL-4 and TNFα levels versus those without depression. Cytokine levels were not correlated to the total PANSS and the positive or negative subscale scores. Our results suggest that FEP is accompanied by a cytokine profile indicative of monocytic and T regulatory cell (Treg) activation. Depression in FEP is accompanied by monocytic and Th-2 activation, whereas FEP without depression is characterized by Treg activation only. In conclusion, depression emerged as a key component explaining the cytokines imbalance in FEP that is responsible for a large part of the immune-inflammatory abnormalities described.


Cytokines; Depression; Drug naïve; First-episode psychosis (FEP); Schizophrenia

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