Does maternal inflammation increase the chance of schizophrenia?

July 17, 2014

Maternal inflammation during pregnancy may be linked to a risk of schizophrenia in the woman’s offspring, according to a new study in The American Journal of Psychiatry based on analysis of data from a large Finnish cohort.

 

Maternal inflammation during pregnancy may be linked to a risk of schizophrenia in the woman’s offspring, according to a new study in TheAmerican Journal of Psychiatry based on analysis of data from a large Finnish cohort.

In the nested case-control study, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center, and the New York State Psychiatric Institute identified 777 schizophrenia cases (schizophrenia, N = 630; schizoaffective disorder, N = 147) from the Finnish Prenatal Study of Schizophrenia cohort that also had maternal sera samples available for C-reactive protein testing and matched them with 777 control subjects. A latex immunoassay was used to assess maternal C-reactive protein levels in both groups.

Classified as a continuous variable, increasing maternal C-reactive protein levels were found to be significantly associated with schizophrenia in offspring (adjusted odds ratio=1.31, 95% confidence interval=1.10–1.56). Even after adjusting for potential confounders such as parental history of psychiatric disorders, twin/singleton birth, urbanicity, province of birth, and maternal socioeconomic status, the finding remained significant.

Investigators concluded that their results provide the most robust evidence so far that maternal inflammation may play a significant role in schizophrenia. This finding could have possible implications in identifying preventive strategies and pathogenic mechanisms in schizophrenia and other neurodevelopmental disorders.


 

 

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