C-reactive protein serum level in drug-free male Egyptian patients with schizophrenia
Despite the growing research interest in the role of immunological markers in schizophrenia, few studies, with conflicting results, have focused on the association between high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels and clinical characteristics in schizophrenia. In this cross-sectional case-control study, a sample of 200 antipsychotic-free male Egyptian schizophrenia patients was assessed by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) and compared with 200 healthy controls as regards serum hs-CRP level using an immunoturbidimetric method. CRP level for patients (geometric mean=3.3 mg/L) was significantly (P=0.000) higher than that for controls (geometric mean=1.4 mg/L). PANSS scores and patients' data, which significantly correlated with serum hs-CRP level, were entered into a stepwise multiple regression analysis. Results of this analysis showed that PANSS negative symptom score was second only to the waist circumference, with which they explained 54.7 % of the variation in serum hs-CRP. Comparable results were obtained when patients, controls and the relevant confounders were included in one multivariate analysis. We concluded that in Egyptian men, waist circumference and schizophrenia diagnosis are strong predictors of raised CRP level independent of a number of potentially confounding variables. In antipsychotic-free patients, CRP level is higher than in healthy controls and is positively correlated with the severity of the psychopathology as measured by PANSS. This relationship is especially notable in negative, but not positive symptoms.