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Biol Psychiatry. 1996 Nov 1;40(9):825-33.

Leukocytes and organ-nonspecific autoantibodies in schizophrenics and their siblings: markers of vulnerability or disease?

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.


To determine whether leukocyte counts and organ-nonspecific autoantibodies mark familial vulnerability for schizophrenia and/or the disease itself, we examined 92 patients with schizophrenia and 94 unrelated, demographically balanced, healthy individuals. In addition, for 19 of the probands, one of their nonschizophrenia, full siblings also was recruited. At the time of the blood draw, most probands (87%) had been free of medications for a minimum of 2 weeks and about half were neuroleptic-naive, first-episode patients. Results indicate that a relative lymphopenia in the context of a relative granulocytosis appears to mark familial vulnerability for schizophrenia, whereas an absolute monocytosis appears to mark spectrum manifestations of the clinical phenotype. The former observation is consistent with the hypothesis that the etiology of schizophrenia is immunologically mediated, whereas the latter is consistent with emerging evidence that an inflammatory process is associated with the expression of the disorder. Neither antinuclear antibody nor rheumatoid factor emerged as liability or disease markers.

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