Arch Gen Psychiatry 2001 Nov


Arch Gen Psychiatry 2001 Nov;58(11):1032-7


Maternal Infections and Subsequent Psychosis Among Offspring

Buka SL, Tsuang MT, Torrey EF, Klebanoff MA, Bernstein D, Yolken RH



BACKGROUND:  We tested the hypotheses that maternal infections during

pregnancy are associated with the subsequent development of schizophrenia and

other psychoses in adulthood.

METHODS:   We conducted a nested case-control study of 27 adults

with schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses and 54 matched unaffected

control subjects (matched for sex, ethnicity, and date of birth) from the

Providence, RI, cohort of the Collaborative Perinatal Project.  We

retrieved stored blood samples that had been obtained from these mothers at the

end of pregnancy.  These samples were analyzed for total class-specific

immunoglobulins and for specific antibodies directed at recognized perinatal

pathogens capable of affecting brain development.

RESULTS:  Maternal levels of IgG and IgM class immunoglobulins before

the mothers delivered of their neonates were significantly elevated among the

case series (t=3.06, P=.003; t=2.93, P=.004, respectively, for IgG and IgM

immunoglobulin-albumin ratios).  Secondary analyses indicated a signficant

association between maternal antibodies to herpes simplex virus type 2

glycoprotine gG2 and subsequent psychotic illness (matched t test = 2.43,

P=.02).  We did not find significant differences between case and control

mothers in the serum levels of IgA class immunoglobulins, or in specific IgG

antibodies to herpes simplex virus type 1, cytomegalovirus, Toxoplasma gondii,

rubella virus, human parvovirus B19, Chlamydia trachomatis, or human

papillomavirus type 16.

CONCLUSIONS: The offspring of mothers with elevated levels of total IgG

and IgM immunoglobulins and antibodies to herpes simplex virus type 2 are at

increased risk for the development of schizophrenia and other psychotic

illnesses in adulthood.