Inflammation and stress combine in bipolar and schizophrenia subtypes

Researchers have found that some individuals with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia have combined stress response and immune dysfunctions.

They suggest that these inflammatory and stress interactions may explain some of the heterogeneity between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and provide novel molecular targets for treatment.

“Our study builds on the mounting evidence suggesting that a subset of individuals with psychotic illness have increased expression of immune-related genes in the brain, cerebrospinal fluid, and blood,” says the team, led by Cyndi Shannon Weickert (Neuroscience Research Australia, Randwick, New South Wales).

“By showing that the immune changes are often concomitant with alterations in the stress signalling system, we have expanded the understanding of possible molecular mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology and of the therapies targeting these systems.”

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