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October 1989

Increased Numbers of CD5 B Lymphocytes in Schizophrenic Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Clinical Neuroscience Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md (Drs McAllister, Rapaport, Pickar, and Paul and Ms Podruchny); St Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, DC (Dr Christison); and the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Baltimore (Dr Alphs).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1989;46(10):890-894. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810100032006

• Autoimmune mechanisms have been postulated to play a role in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Recently, increased numbers of B lymphocytes expressing the CD5 (Leu-1) surface antigen have been observed in patients with certain autoimmune diseases. In the present study, approximately 30% of schizophrenic patients (11/34) were found by cytofluorometric methods to have similarly increased levels of circulating CD5 B cells compared with 6% (2/33) of healthy individuals and 5% (1/20) of patients with bipolar affective disorder. In schizophrenic patients with a "high" CD5 B-cell phenotype, the percentage of B cells expressing the CD5 surface marker (mean + SEM, 52.4% + 3.5%) was comparable to that reported for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and significantly greater than that reported for patients with bipolar affective disorder (25.7%±2.5%) and healthy controls (31.0% ±1.8%). Schizophrenic patients with high levels of CD5 B cells had increased numbers of total B cells compared with control subjects and patients with low levels of CD5 B cells. An elevation in CD5+ B cells may delineate a subgroup of schizophrenic patients whose disease has an underlying autoimmune and/or genetic cause.