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Psychiatry Res. 1995 Jan 31;56(1):33-44.

Borna disease virus and schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland at Baltimore 21228, USA.


The development of a new serological assay method to detect antibodies in human sera recognizing Borna disease virus (BDV) proteins and a clinical pilot study are presented. Psychiatric patients from a schizophrenia research clinic in Baltimore, Maryland, were examined for antibodies to BDV antigen with traditional indirect immunofluorescence assays (IFA) that used both single and double labeling techniques and also with a Western blot assay capable of detecting antibodies to the three BDV proteins from a human neuroblastoma cell line. Thirteen of 90 (14.4%) patients and 0/20 control subjects had antibodies that recognized more than one BDV protein on the Western blot. Three patients had antibodies that recognized all three BDV proteins. Magnetic resonance imaging assessments of the volume of the putamen (with controls for total cranial volume) differentiated BDV+ from BDV- patients, and there were trend differences for bilateral amygdalae and the left amygdala-hippocampal process. We conclude that: (1) the Western blot assay is superior to IFA assays in BDV serology studies, (2) detection of antibodies to more than one BDV protein is a useful working criterion for seropositivity, (3) the 14.5 kDa BDV protein is 10 times more predictive of seropositivity than either the 38/40 kDa or the 24 kDa protein, (4) there is tentative evidence for a schizophrenia-control difference in the prevalence of anti-BDV antibodies, and (5) it is likely that there are neuroanatomical/behavioral features that differentiate seropositive from seronegative schizophrenic patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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