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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Fluids and Barriers of the CNS 1/2017

Do patients with schizophreniform and bipolar disorders show an intrathecal, polyspecific, antiviral immune response? A pilot study

Fluids and Barriers of the CNS > Ausgabe 1/2017
Dominique Endres, Daniela Huzly, Rick Dersch, Oliver Stich, Benjamin Berger, Florian Schuchardt, Evgeniy Perlov, Nils Venhoff, Sabine Hellwig, Bernd L. Fiebich, Daniel Erny, Tilman Hottenrott, Ludger Tebartz van Elst
Wichtige Hinweise
Tilman Hottenrott and Ludger Tebartz van Elst senior authors contributed equally



We previously described inflammatory cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) alterations in a subgroup of patients with schizophreniform disorders and the synthesis of polyspecific intrathecal antibodies against different neurotropic infectious pathogens in some patients with bipolar disorders. Consequently, we have measured the prevalence of a positive MRZ reaction (MRZR)—a marker for a polyspecific, antiviral, intrathecal, humoral immune response composed of three antibody indices for the neurotropic viruses of measles (M), rubella (R), and varicella zoster (Z)—in these patients.


We analyzed paired CSF and serum samples of 39 schizophreniform and 39 bipolar patients. For comparison, we used a group of 48 patients with other inflammatory neurological disorders (OIND) and a cohort of 203 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.


We found a positive MRZR in two patients with schizophreniform disorders (5.1%); both suffered from schizodepressive disorders without any other signs suggestive of MS. None of the bipolar patients (0%) and four members of the OIND group (8.3%) showed a positive MRZR. In the MS cohort, a positive MRZR was found significantly more frequently [in 99 patients (48.8%)] than in the other patient groups (p > 0.001). In summary, we did not find a positive MRZR in a relevant subgroup of patients with schizophreniform or bipolar disorders.


Our results indicate that the MRZR is highly specific to MS. Nevertheless, two schizodepressive patients also had a positive MRZR. This finding corresponds to the few MRZR-positive patients with OIND or other autoimmune disorders with central nervous involvement, implicating that the MRZR specificity for MS is high, but not 100%.
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