Activation of the cytokine systems may be involved in the neuropathological changes occurring in the central nervous systems of schizophrenic patients. However, associations between the levels of cytokines and the severity of symptoms have not been completely established. Objective: It was the aim of this study to evaluate serum levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and their soluble receptors (sTNFR) in schizophrenic patients and healthy controls. Methods: Forty male institutionalized schizophrenic patients (mean age ± SD, 52.3 ± 9.9 years) and 20 asymptomatic matched controls were recruited. The severity of symptoms was assessed using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale. Serum levels of cytokines were measured by ELISAs. Results: Serum levels of sTNFR1 and sTNFR2 were increased in schizophrenic patients when compared with controls (all p < 0.05), but there was no difference in TNF-α levels. There was no correlation between the length of disease/hospitalization or the severity of symptoms and the serum levels of these molecules. Conclusion: Inflammatory markers are increased in schizophrenia but they do not correlate with symptom severity.

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