Immature cells have long been regarded as super-arms in our bodies, with guards, soldiers, intelligence, weapons factories, and communications. This army is responsible for sweeping away all harmful cells and substances, and its role is to protect us from death. The immune cells known as “macrophages” are among the first soldiers in the body to fight infection and play a role in maintaining immunity and inflammation. A recent study of brain pathology found that these macrophages may change and may cause changes in the brain like schizophrenia.

For a long time, most scientists believe that red blood cells, white blood cells, and immune cells are beyond the brain pathology of mental illness. Recently, a team from the Australian Institute of Neuroscience (NeuRA) found a very large number of macrophages in the brain tissue of some patients with schizophrenia. The study was published in the latest issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Research Overview

There are elevated pro-inflammatory cytokines in the blood and brain of patients with schizophrenia, but the effect on the blood-brain barrier (BBB) molecular index is unclear. The study examined qPCR in the prefrontal cortex of patients with schizophrenia/schizophrenia and controls, and measured eight mRNAs associated with BBB function, microglia and three immune cell markers. This cohort was previously classified into two subgroups of “high inflammation” and “low inflammation” based on cortical inflammation-related transcripts. Soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM1) was measured in plasma of 78 patients with schizophrenia/schizophrenia and 73 healthy controls.

Results Revealed

sICAM1 is significantly elevated in patients with schizophrenia.
In the brains of patients with schizophrenia, an efflux transporter protein ABCG2 is lower, while mRNA encoding VE-cadherin and ICAM1 is higher.
Compared with the “low-inflammation” schizophrenia and “low-inflammation” controls, the “high-inflammation” schizophrenia group had lower ABCG2 and higher ICAM1, VE-cadherin, occludin and interferon-induced Transmembrane protein mRNA.
Regardless of the diagnosis, ICAM1 immunohistochemistry showed enrichment in brain endothelial cells and localized to astrocytes in some brains. Microglia mRNA did not change in schizophrenia and was not associated with ICAM1 expression.
The immune cell mRNA in “high inflammation” schizophrenia is elevated compared to “low inflammation” schizophrenia and controls.
In the brains of more than 40% of patients with “high-inflammation” schizophrenia, CD163+ perivascular macrophages were identified by immunohistochemistry as brain parenchyma.
Changes in patients with high levels of cytokine expression and schizophrenia are consistent with larger immune cells entering the brain through increased ICAM1.

Significance

In the past, neuronal cells, glial cells, and endothelial cells that wrap the inner wall of blood vessels have been identified as the three key players in psychosis and schizophrenia, and Australian scientists now identify macrophages as the fourth criminal participant. Macrophages are special immune cells that destroy bacteria and other harmful organisms. When the body is infected, these cells act as first-line fighters. The researchers said that this is a mystery of a hundred years, and this is the first time to prove the fact that macrophages may be the new culprit in causing schizophrenia.

The team said that 40% of their schizophrenia subgroups showed high inflammation in their brains. Samples of brain tissue from patients indicate that their brain glial cells produce an inflammatory response and release signals to endothelial cells, which in turn alters the state of endothelial cells, causing endothelial cells to extend out of sticky “touchers” to capture passing immune cells. Eventually, Specific macrophages accumulate in the brain to confuse neurons and further damage brain tissue. These immune cells can now “transfer” through the blood-brain barrier into the brain.

This discovery has made a major breakthrough in schizophrenia research, and schizophrenia researchers need to work with immunologists to develop immune cell-targeted therapies for schizophrenia. The researchers say that if the movement of immune cells in the brain stops, the situation may improve. Perhaps one day, people with schizophrenia can get a new life.

Schizophrenia is a chronic severe mental illness with a high probability of recurrence. It is recommended to go to the psychiatric or psychological department to select appropriate antipsychotic drugs to control the disease. After the disease is stable, it is necessary to continue to maintain drug treatment for a certain period of time. Usually appropriate decompression, to avoid excessive stress and emotional stimulation. Here are some portable gadgets that may give you a sense of security as your health guardian.

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