Breakdown of the Paracellular Tight and Adherens Junctions in the Gut and Blood Brain Barrier and Damage to the Vascular Barrier in Patients with Deficit Schizophrenia

Deficit schizophrenia is characterized by leaky tight and adherens junctions and bacterial translocation. Here we examine whether (deficit) schizophrenia is accompanied by leaky paracellular, transcellular and vascular barriers in the gut and blood brain barriers. We measured IgA responses to occludin, claudin-5, E-cadherin and β-catenin (paracellular pathway, PARA), talin, actin, vinculin and epithelial intermediate filament (transcellular pathway, TRANS) and plasmalemma vesicle-associated protein (PLVAP, vascular pathway) in 78 schizophrenia patients and 40 controls. IgA responses to claudin-5, E-cadherin and β-catenin, the sum of the four PARA proteins and the ratio PARA/TRANS were significantly higher in deficit schizophrenia than in non-deficit schizophrenia and controls. A large part of the variance in PHEMN (psychosis, hostility, excitation, mannerism and negative) symptoms, psychomotor retardation, formal thought disorders, verbal fluency, word list memory, word list recall and executive functions was explained by the PARA/TRANS ratio coupled with plasma IgA responses to Gram-negative bacteria, IgM to malondialdehyde, CCL-11 (eotaxin), IgA levels of the ratio of noxious to more protective tryptophan catabolites (NOX/PRO TRYCATs) and a plasma immune activation index. Moreover, IgA levels to Gram-negative bacteria were significantly associated with IgA to E-cadherin, β-catenin and PLVAP, while IgA levels to claudin-5 were significantly predicted by IgA to E-cadherin, NOX/PRO TRYCAT ratio, Gram-negative bacteria and CCL11. The phenomenology of the deficit syndrome is to a large extent explained by the cumulative effects of lowered natural IgM, breakdown of the paracellular and vascular pathways, increased bacterial translocation, peripheral immune-inflammatory responses and indices of BBB breakdown.

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