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July 1988

Intracerebral Inoculation of Experimental Animals With Brain Tissue From Patients With Schizophrenia: Failure to Observe Consistent or Specific Behavioral and Neuropathological Effects

Author Affiliations

From the Neuropsychiatry Branch (Drs Kaufmann and Stevens) and Clinical Brain Disorders Branch (Drs Weinberger and Kleinman), Intramural Research Program, St Elizabeths Hospital, National Institute of Mental Health, Washington, DC; and the Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies (Drs Kaufmann, Asher, Gibbs, and Gajdusek and Mr Sulima), National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, MD.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(7):648-652. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800310056007

• To test the possibility that some cases of schizophrenia result from infection with a transmissible slow viral agent, 57 experimental animals (six chimpanzees, 12 Old World monkeys, 17 New World monkeys, and 22 guinea pigs) were inoculated intracerebrally with brain tissue from ten patients and followed up for six years. Behavioral comparisons with control animals revealed no consistent behavioral differences. Histological, immunohistochemical, and morphometric examination of brains of animals that died revealed no specific neuropathological abnormalities. These findings do not support a role for a virus-induced slow infection in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia but must be weighed against methodological limitations in animal susceptibility, disease communicability, and assay sensitivity.