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Keywords:

  • Borna disease virus;
  • Western blotting;
  • schizophrenia;
  • hospitalization

The relationship between Borna disease virus (BDV) infection and schizophrenia in the clinical time course was investigated. By nested reverse-transcribed polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blotting, BDV-specific RNA and anti-BDV antibodies were examined in the EDTA-treated blood from 67 schizophrenic patients (according to DSM-III-R) in Japan. A significantly higher proportion (45%) of anti-BDV antibody and/ or BDV RNA carriers were found among these 67 schizophrenic patients than in 26 controls (0%). There were no apparent associations of BDV infection with age, age at onset, period of hospitalization, accompanying somatic diseases, a past history of tuberculosis, a history of transfusion, a family history, or doses of psychotropic drugs. It is possible that, at least, BDV infection in schizophrenic patients may not be a nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infection, although the route of BDV infection in humans remains unidentified. More studies on the relationship between BDV infection and clinical psychosomatic features should be performed in order to elucidate the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.