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.