Jacobs Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science

The Immune and Metabolic Factors of Schizophrenia

Published on: 2014-09-22


Schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental illness where involvement of both environmental and genetic triggers is proposed. While a neuronal cell?autonomous view of schizophrenia has been suggested, increasing evidence is pointing beyond intrinsic neuronal dysfunction to help explain reasons for this illness. In particular, the role of immune and metabolic systems, unifying the behavioral and physical factors of schizophrenia is being debated. In this model of disease, abnormal function and communication between cells of the immune, metabolic and/or central nervous systems, in part, play a role. Particular support for this hypothesis comes from reports showing altered levels of pro?inflammatory cytokines in patients with schizophrenia. Such molecules have been suggested to originate from dysfunctional immune cells, adipocytes and/or glial cells. In this review, we discuss how metabolic and immune dysfunction may help explain and unify the genetic and environmental hypothesis of schizophrenia. We also discuss how aberrant release of inflammatory markers from immune cells, adipocytes and glial cells could contribute to schizophrenia. We conclude, by asking if there are blood?borne signalling molecules released by these cells which still require discovery and could further explain this illness.


Schizophrenia; Immune System; Metabolic Syndrome; Signalling Molecules; Cytokines