J. Neurovirol 2000 Dec;6(6):492-7
Serum Antibodies Reactive With Non-Human Primate
Retroviruses Identified In Acute Onset Schizophrenia
Lillehoj EP, Ford GM, Bachmann S, Schroder J, Torrey
EF, Yolken RH
Schizophrenia is a pervasive neuropsychiatric
disease of uncertain etiology. Previous studies have postulated that
retroviruses may contribute to the etiology of some cases of schizophrenia.
We examined the possible relationship between retroviral infection and
schizophrenia by measuring antibodies to a number of different primate
retroviruses in the sera of individuals undergoing their first hospitalization
for this disease. Sera from patients with first onset schizophrenia and
matched healthy controls were analyzed by immunoblot and enzyme linked
immunosorbent assays using purified retrovirus antigens to identify and quantify
antibodies reactive with retrovirus proteins. A significantly increased
incidence of antibodies reactive to gag encoded proteins of Mason-Pfizer monkey
virus (MPMV), baboon endogenous virus (BaEV) and simian retrovirus type 5
(SRV-5) was observed in the sera of schizophrenia patients compared to controls.
The reactivity of the cases and controls displayed the greatest differences in
terms of antibodies to the proteins of Mason-Pfizer monkey virus.
Employing an algorithm of enzyme linked immunosorbent assay reactivity followed
by immunoblot confirmation, we found that MPMV antibodies in 28.9% of the
individuals with first episode schizophrenia patients as compared to 3.7% of the
unaffected controls (P<0.009, Fisher's Exact Test). These studies are consistent with the occurrence of retrovirus replication in some individuals who are undergoing their first episode of schizophrenia.