The presence of antibodies against neural antigens was investigated in the serum of patients with schizophrenia, major depression and normal controls. Different immunological abnormalities, humoral and cellular, were reported in schizophrenia and major depression. The pathogenesis of schizophrenia is multifactorial. An autoimmune mechanism was suggested as a possible factor. We tested the serum of 26 patients with schizophrenia, eight patients with major depression and 22 normal controls. The serum samples were tested for antibody binding to protein extracts of IMR-32 neuroblastma cell line using Western blot analysis. Immunoglobulins of eight patients with schizophrenia (30.71%) reacted with a protein of 80-85 kDa. Serum samples from subjects of other groups did not react with this protein. Sera of all patients with major depression but one, and all normal controls reacted with HSP 60 kDa to different extent. This is an apparent discrepancy with the findings of Kilidireas et al. [Kilidireas, K., Latov, N., Strauss, D.H., Gorig, A.D., Hashim, G.A., Gorman, J.M., Sadig, S.A., 1992. Antibodies to the human 60 kDa heat shock protein in patients with schizophrenia. Lancet 340, 569-572.] who demonstrated the presence of antibodies against HSP 60 kDa in 44% of patients with schizophrenia tested and 8% of normal subjects. HSP 60 kDa is an antigen of many pathogens and antibodies against it might be a result of an infection and cannot be a good indicator for an autoimmune process. The presence of antibodies against a protein of 80-85 kDa should be investigated as a possible specific indicator.
- Heat shock protein