What is the role of the immune system in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia?

Updated: Mar 16, 2018
  • Author: Frances R Frankenburg, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Immune function is disturbed in schizophrenia. [11] Overactivation of the immune system (eg, from prenatal infection or postnatal stress) may result in overexpression of inflammatory cytokines and subsequent alteration of brain structure and function. For example, schizophrenic patients have elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines that activate the kynurenine pathway, by which tryptophan is metabolized into kynurenic and quinolinic acids; these acids regulate NMDA receptor activity and may also be involved in dopamine regulation.

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