Archives of General Psychiatry

Archives of General Psychiatry, 2003; in press

Antibodies to Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Is

Associated With Cognitive Deficits in Individuals With Schizophrenia

Faith B. Dickerson, John J. Boronow, Cassie

Stallings, Andrea E. Origoni, Inna Ruslanova, Robert H. Yolken

BACKGROUND:  Cognitive deficits are a

characteristic feature of schizophrenia and contribute to the profound

disabilities associated with this illness.  Some of the cognitive deficits

which occur in individuals with schizophrenia are similar to those found in

individuals who have recovered from central nervous system infections with human


METHODS: We measured cognitive functioning and

serological evidence of infection with human herpesviruses in 229 outpatients

with schizophrenia.  Cognitive functioning was evaluated with the

Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS).

For each patient, serum IgG class antibodies with specificities for the

following potentially neurotropic human herpesviruses were measured by solid

phase immunoassay: herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1), herpes simplex virus

type 2 (HSV-2), cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human herpes

virus 6 (HHV-6), and varicella-zoster virus (VZV).  The association between

serologic evidence of herpesvirus infection and cognitive functioning was

determined by univariate analyses as well as multivariate analyses which

included demographic and clinical factors associated with cognitive functioning.

RESULTS: We found that serological evidence of

infection with HSV-1 is an independent predictor of cognitive dysfunction in

individuals with schizophrenia.  Discriminant function analysis indicated

that much of the difference in cognitive functioning could be attributed to

immediate memory.  We found no significant association between cognitive

dysfunction and serological evidence of infection with other human herpesviruses

CONCLUSIONS:  Serological evidence of HSV-1

infection is associated with cognitive impairment in schizophrenia.