Complement C1q formation of immune complexes with milk caseins and wheat glutens in schizophrenia

Stanley Division of Developmental Neurovirology, Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 600 N. Wolfe Street, Blalock 1105, Baltimore, MD 21287-4933, USA. Electronic address: .
Neurobiology of Disease (Impact Factor: 5.08). 07/2012; 48(3):447-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.nbd.2012.07.005
Source: PubMed


Immune system factors including complement pathway activation are increasingly linked to the etiology and pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Complement protein, C1q, binds to and helps to clear immune complexes composed of immunoglobulins coupled to antigens. The antigenic stimuli for C1q activation in schizophrenia are not known. Food sensitivities characterized by elevated IgG antibodies to bovine milk caseins and wheat glutens have been reported in individuals with schizophrenia. Here, we examined the extent to which these food products might comprise the antigen component of complement C1q immune complexes in individuals with recent onset schizophrenia (n=38), non-recent onset schizophrenia (n=61) and non-psychiatric controls (n=63). C1q seropositivity was significantly associated with both schizophrenia groups (recent onset, odds ratio (OR)=8.02, p≤0.008; non-recent onset, OR=3.15, p≤0.03) compared to controls (logistic regression models corrected for age, sex, race and smoking status). Casein- and/or gluten-IgG binding to C1q was significantly elevated in the non-recent onset group compared to controls (OR=4.36, p≤0.01). Significant amounts of C1q-casein/gluten-related immune complexes and C1q correlations with a marker for gastrointestinal inflammation in non-recent onset schizophrenia suggests a heightened rate of food antigens in the systemic circulation, perhaps via a disease-associated altered intestinal permeability. In individuals who are in the early stages of disease onset, C1q activation may reflect the formation of immune complexes with non-casein- or non-gluten-related antigens, the presence of C1q autoantibodies, and/or a dissociated state of immune complex components. In conclusion, complement activation may be a useful biomarker to diagnose schizophrenia early during the course of the disease. Future prospective studies should evaluate the impacts of casein- and gluten-free diets on C1q activation in schizophrenia.

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    • "Several risk factors for the development of schizophrenia (inflammation , Toxoplasma gondii exposures, gluten sensitivity) can be linked through a common origin in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract (Dickerson et al., 2010; Samaroo et al., 2010; Severance et al., 2010a,b; Dickerson et al., 2011; Niebuhr et al., 2011; Dickerson et al., 2012; Severance et al., 2012a,c). The innate immune molecule, complement C1q, forms immune complexes with food antigens at increased rates in individuals with schizophrenia (Severance et al., 2012b). Exposure to the Schizophrenia Research 148 (2013) 130–137 Abbreviations: sCD14, soluble CD14; LBP, lipopolysaccharide binding protein; LPS, lipopolysaccharide; CRP, C-reactive protein; BMI, body mass index; GI, gastrointestinal; tTG, tissue transglutaminase. "
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    ABSTRACT: The origin of inflammation in psychiatric disorders is not well understood. The translocation of commensal microbiota across the gastrointestinal barrier can result in a persistent state of low-grade immune activation and/or inflammation. We measured serological surrogate markers of bacterial translocation (soluble CD14 (sCD14) and lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP)) in two psychiatric cohorts and compared these levels to C-reactive protein (CRP), body mass index (BMI), and food-related and autoimmune antibodies. The two cohorts were composed of the following: (1) n=141 schizophrenia, n=75 bipolar disorder, n=78 controls; (2) n=78 antipsychotic-naïve first-episode schizophrenia, n=38 medicated first-episode schizophrenia. sCD14 seropositivity conferred a 3.1-fold increased odds of association with schizophrenia (multivariate regressions, OR=3.09, p<0.0001) compared to controls. Case-control differences in sCD14 were not matched by LBP. Quantitative levels of LBP, but not sCD14, correlated with BMI in schizophrenia (R(2)=0.21, p<0.0001). sCD14 and LBP also exhibited some congruency in schizophrenia with both significantly correlated with CRP (R(2)=0.26-0.27, p<0.0001) and elevated in females compared to males (p<0.01). Antipsychotic treatment generally did not impact sCD14 or LBP levels except for significant correlations, especially sCD14, with gluten antibodies in antipsychotic-naïve schizophrenia (R(2)=0.27, p<0.0001). In bipolar disorder, sCD14 levels were significantly correlated with anti-tissue transglutaminase IgG (R(2)=0.37, p<0.001). In conclusion, these bacterial translocation markers produced discordant and complex patterns of activity, a finding that may reflect an imbalanced, activated innate immune state. Whereas both markers may upregulate following systemic exposure to Gram-negative bacteria, non-lipopolysaccharide-based monocyte activation, autoimmunity and metabolic dysfunction may also contribute to the observed marker profiles.
    Schizophrenia Research 06/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2013.05.018 · 3.92 Impact Factor
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    • "Commercially available ELISA kits for measuring serological T. gondii IgG were purchased from IBL America (Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A.) and used as previously described with a 1∶50 serum dilution and an anti-mouse IgG secondary antibody [41]. IgG antibodies to wheat gluten and C1q were measured by ELISAs using previously described methods with some modification [11], [42]. Whole gluten was extracted from the wheat cultivar Cheyenne, also as previously described [14]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Gluten sensitivity may affect disease pathogenesis in a subset of individuals who have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or autism. Exposure to Toxoplasma gondii is a known risk factor for the development of schizophrenia, presumably through a direct pathological effect of the parasite on brain and behavior. A co-association of antibodies to wheat gluten and to T. gondii in individuals with schizophrenia was recently uncovered, suggesting a coordinated gastrointestinal means by which T. gondii and dietary gluten might generate an immune response. Here, we evaluated the connection between these infectious- and food-based antigens in mouse models. BALB/c mice receiving a standard wheat-based rodent chow were infected with T. gondii via intraperitoneal, peroral and prenatal exposure methods. Significant increases in the levels of anti-gluten IgG were documented in all infected mice and in offspring from chronically infected dams compared to uninfected controls (repetitive measures ANOVAs, two-tailed t-tests, all p≤0.00001). Activation of the complement system accompanied this immune response (p≤0.002-0.00001). Perorally-infected females showed higher levels of anti-gluten IgG than males (p≤0.009) indicating that T. gondii-generated gastrointestinal infection led to a significant anti-gluten immune response in a sex-dependent manner. These findings support a gastrointestinal basis by which two risk factors for schizophrenia, T. gondii infection and sensitivity to dietary gluten, might be connected to produce the immune activation that is becoming an increasingly recognized pathology of psychiatric disorders.
    PLoS ONE 11/2012; 7(11):e50991. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0050991 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Immune factors are implicated in normal brain development and in brain disorder pathogenesis. Pathogen infection and food antigen penetration across gastrointestinal barriers are means by which environmental factors might affect immune-related neurodevelopment. Here, we test if gastrointestinal inflammation is associated with schizophrenia and therefore, might contribute to bloodstream entry of potentially neurotropic milk and gluten exorphins and/or immune activation by food antigens. IgG antibodies to Saccharomyces cerevisiae (ASCA, a marker of intestinal inflammation), bovine milk casein, wheat-derived gluten, and 6 infectious agents were assayed. Cohort 1 included 193 with non-recent onset schizophrenia, 67 with recent onset schizophrenia and 207 non-psychiatric controls. Cohort 2 included 103 with first episode schizophrenia, 40 of whom were antipsychotic-naïve. ASCA markers were significantly elevated and correlated with food antigen antibodies in recent onset and non-recent onset schizophrenia compared to controls (p≤0.00001-0.004) and in unmedicated individuals with first episode schizophrenia compared to those receiving antipsychotics (p≤0.05-0.01). Elevated ASCA levels were especially evident in non-recent onset females (p≤0.009), recent onset males (p≤0.01) and in antipsychotic-naïve males (p≤0.03). Anti-food antigen antibodies were correlated to antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii, an intestinally-infectious pathogen, particularly in males with recent onset schizophrenia (p≤0.002). In conclusion, gastrointestinal inflammation is a relevant pathology in schizophrenia, appears to occur in the absence of but may be modified by antipsychotics, and may link food antigen sensitivity and microbial infection as sources of immune activation in mental illness.
    Schizophrenia Research 03/2012; 138(1):48-53. DOI:10.1016/j.schres.2012.02.025 · 3.92 Impact Factor
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