Although an immune dysfunction and the involvement of infectious agents in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia are discussed since decades, the field never came into the mainstream of research. In schizophrenia a blunted type-1 immune response seems to be associated with a dysbalance in the activation of the enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and in the tryptophan - kynurenine metabolism resulting in increased production of kynurenic acid in schizophrenia. This is associated with an imbalance in the glutamatergic neurotransmission, leading to an NMDA antagonism in schizophrenia. The immunological effects of antipsychotics rebalance partly the immune imbalance and the overweight of the production of the kynurenic acid. This immunological imbalance results in an inflammatory state combined with increased prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production and increased cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression. COX-2 inhibitors have been tested in clinical trials, pointing to favourable effects in schizophrenia.
Keywords: Schizophrenia, major depression, kynurenine, inflammation, therapy
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