A new study published by researchers at George Washington University has specified a link between microbes (viruses, bacteria and fungi) in the throat of schizophrenic individuals.
“The oropharynx of schizophrenics seems to harbor different proportions of oral bacteria than healthy individuals,” said Eduardo Castro-Nallar, a Ph.D. candidate at GW’s Computational Biology Institute (CBI) and lead author of the study. “Specifically, our analyses revealed an association between microbes such as lactic-acid bacteria and schizophrenics.”
“Our results suggesting a link between microbiome diversity and schizophrenia require replication and expansion to a broader number of individuals for further validation,” said Keith Crandall, director of the CBI and contributing author of the study. “But the results are quite intriguing and suggest potential applications of biomarkers for diagnosis of schizophrenia and important metabolic pathways associated with the disease.”
Previous studies have indicated that Schizophrenia is linked to an autoimmune disease. Schizophrenia has been associated with prenatal complications including maternal rubella (German measles), influenza, Varicella zoster, Herpes (HSV-2), common cold infection with fever. Poliovirus infection while in childhood or adulthood, coxsackie virus infection (in neonates) or Lyme disease (vectored by the Ixodes tick and Borrelia Burgdorferri) or Toxoplasmosis have been reported as risk factors. The human endogenous retrovirus, HERV-W, has also been implicated in schizophrenia.
Composition, taxonomy and functional diversity of the oropharynx microbiome in individuals with schizophrenia and controls, Eduardo Castro-Nallar et al., PeerJ, doi: 10.7717/peerj.1140, published online 25 August 2015.