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Keywords:

  • cytokine;
  • schizophrenia;
  • schizophrenia-related disorders;
  • T-helper 2

Aim

An imbalance between T-helper type 1 (Th1) and type 2 (Th2) cytokines has been implicated in schizophrenia, although empirical evidence is rare. The aim of this study was to examine if a Th1/Th2 imbalance occurs in schizophrenia and schizophrenia-related disorder.

Methods

Twenty-six subjects with schizophrenia, 26 subjects with schizophrenia-related disorders, and 26 healthy controls were recruited. The Human Th1/Th2 Cytokine Cytometric Bead Array Kit-II was utilized to assess serum Th1/Th2 cytokines and ratios simultaneously. MANOVA was used to detect differences among the three diagnostic groups in distinct Th1/Th2 cytokines/ratios. Pearson/Spearman correlations were used to examine the relationships between distinct Th1/Th2 cytokines/ratios and clinical/psychopathological data in schizophrenia.

Results

Interferon (IFN)-γ/interleukin (IL)-4, IFN-γ/IL-10, IL-2/IL-4, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α/IL-4 ratios were significantly decreased in schizophrenia, but not in schizophrenia-related disorders compared to healthy controls. IFN-γ/IL-4 and IFN-γ/IL-10 in schizophrenia subjects positively correlated with age, but not in schizophrenia-related disorder subjects or in healthy controls.

Conclusion

A clear Th2 shift was observed in schizophrenia, but not in schizophrenia-related disorders. The Th2 shift in schizophrenia appeared to be an aberrant developmental phenomenon.