Elevated cellular immune response to human heat-shock protein-60 in schizophrenic patients

I. Leykin, B. Spivak, A. Weizman, I. R. Cohen, M. Shinitzky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Heat shock protein-60 (HSP60) is implicated in several autoimmune diseases as a triggering antigen. Based on the autoimmune hypothesis of schizophrenia, we examined cellular and humoral responses against HSP60 and a series of its peptide fragments with peripheral blood samples of schizophrenic patients and healthy subjects each of group size between 12 to 32 participants. The average stimulation indices of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) to HSP60 were 3.17 ± 0.36 (mean ± SE) for schizophrenic patients and 2.23 ± 0.24 (mean ± SE) for healthy subjects, with a significant difference between the groups (P = 0.0457). In parallel, 38 synthetic peptide fragments of HSP60, each of 18-21 amino acids, were tested for in vitro sensitization of PBMC. With one peptide (p32) the average stimulation index of PBMC from schizophrenic patients was significantly higher than that obtained for PBMC of control subjects (P = 0.0006). Comparing the cellular immune response to p32 between patients who were distinctive responders (n = 10) or non-responders (n = 10) to neuroleptic treatment indicated a similar elevation of cellular response in these groups. Antibodies against HSP6O were screened by dot-blot and ELISA in the sera of the above blood samples. Titers of IgG and IgM against HSP60 were found to be of similar magnitude in schizophrenic patients and in controls. Titers of IgA against HSP60 were somewhat higher in the sera of schizophrenic patients in comparison to sera of control subjects (P = 0.0605).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-246
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Mayer Family Foundation


    • Autoantigen
    • Autoimmunity
    • Heat shock protein-60
    • Immune response
    • Schizophrenia


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