There is a growing interest in low-grade inflammatory and metabolic alterations in patients with chronic schizophrenia (SCH).
Inflammatory (tumor-necrosis factor-α [TNF-α], interferon-γ [IFN-γ], interleukins [IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10], monocyte chemo-attractant protein-1 [MCP-1]) and growth factors (vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF], epidermal growth factor [EGF]) were measured in blood serum samples of 105 SCH patients and 148 control subjects (CS). Simultaneously the clinical biomarkers (C-reactive protein [CRP], triglycerides [TG], low-density lipoprotein [LDL-c] and high-density lipoprotein [HDL-c] cholesterol, glycated hemoglobin [HbA1c]) were measured, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated for patients.
Several cyto-/chemokines (IFN-γ, MCP-1, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8 and IL-10) were significantly (P < 0.0000001) elevated in SCH patients compared to CS. Odds ratios, obtained from logistic regression analyses, were significantly elevated for IL-2, IL-6, IL-10, INF-γ, and decreased for TNF-α in SCH group. Among the patients, higher IL-2, IL-6, INF-γ and lower MCP-1 levels as well as male gender were together significant (P < 0.000001) predictors of higher HbA1c levels, and TG/HDL-c parameter was associated with ratios of INF-γ/IL-10 (P = 0.004), and INF-γ/IL-4 (P = 0.049), HbA1c (P = 0.005), INF-γ (P = 0.009), as well as LDL-c (P = 0.02) levels.
IL-2, IL-6, IL-10 and IFN-γ were the most significant SCH-related markers among the measured cytokines in our patient group. Furthermore, significant associations between pro-/anti-inflammatory imbalance and HbA1c as well as cardio-metabolic risk marker (TG/HDL-c) were observed, indicating higher risks of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases among SCH patients.