Objective: As stress activates the inflammatory response system, and attempted suicide is connected with severe stress, we hypothesized that patients hospitalized for self-injurious behaviour have changed immunocompetence.
Method: The concentration of immunoglobulins IgG, IgA, IgM, and the complement components C3 and C4 in 73 patients hospitalized for self-injurious behaviour was compared with those of 122 healthy controls. The immunoglobulins and complement were quantified by nephelometric technique.
Results: The levels of IgG and IgM were significantly lower, and the complement C3 and C4 were significantly higher in self-injurious patients compared with controls. This was valid in both genders and the effects did not interact with gender.
Conclusions: This controlled study showed that the concentrations of immunoglobulins were reduced and complement components were increased in patients who are admitted to hospital for self-injurious behaviour.