Racial Differences in S100b Levels in Persons with Schizophrenia

  • Jessica M. GannonEmail author
  • Deanna L. Kelly
  • Abigail Besch
  • Tanu Thakur
  • Neil Khurana
  • Michael R. Shurin
  • Galina V. Shurin
  • Jaspreet S. Brar
  • Daniela Cihakova
  • Monica V. Talor
  • K. N. Roy Chengappa
Original Paper


The calcium-binding protein S100b is secreted by glial cells in the brain and is also expressed by melanocytes. In nanomolar concentrations, S100b is considered to be a neurotrophic factor, but in micromolar concentrations, it is thought to reflect CNS injury and inflammation. Seen as a potential biomarker in traumatic brain injury, meta-analytic data from several studies report that S100b levels are significantly higher in persons with long standing schizophrenia, but also among first-episode patients compared to healthy control subjects. However, ethnic or racial differences are typically not mentioned when reporting levels of S100b. We assessed serum S100b levels in persons with schizophrenia (n = 136) who were participants in two independent research studies using the same enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA). African-American subjects had significantly higher levels of S100b (41.9 pg/ml ± 62.2) than Caucasian subjects (24.9 pg/ml ± 45.4) in the combined dataset (Mann-Whitney U = 1307, p < 0.001), as well as in each independent study. There were no significant differences in S100b levels between men and women. No significant correlations were observed between S100b levels and demographic or clinical variables. These data suggest that ethnicity or race should be given serious consideration when studying and interpreting S100b levels in persons with schizophrenia.


Schizophrenia S100b African-American Caucasian Inflammation Race 



The authors gratefully acknowledge Patricia Schlicht, RN, MA, who was the Research Nurse Coordinator for Study 1, and Joan Spinogatti, who handled IRB submission for Study 1, and coordinated author collaboration and drafts of the manuscript, including creating the figures and tables. We also thank Fang Liu who helped with data management, William W. Eaton, PhD, Nicola Cascella, MD and Alessio Fasano, MD who all helped with the study design for study 2.

Funding Information

Study 1 was funded by an award to K. N. Roy Chengappa (PI) by the Stanley Medical Research Institute, and Study 2 was funded by pilot funding from the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center to Deanna Kelly (PI).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica M. Gannon
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Deanna L. Kelly
    • 3
  • Abigail Besch
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tanu Thakur
    • 4
  • Neil Khurana
    • 5
  • Michael R. Shurin
    • 6
  • Galina V. Shurin
    • 6
  • Jaspreet S. Brar
    • 1
  • Daniela Cihakova
    • 7
  • Monica V. Talor
    • 7
  • K. N. Roy Chengappa
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Western Psychiatric HospitalUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.School of MedicineUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Maryland Psychiatric Research CenterUniversity of Maryland, School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Institute of Human Behavior and Allied SciencesNew DelhiIndia
  5. 5.University of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA
  6. 6.Department of PathologyUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA
  7. 7.Department of Pathology, School of MedicineJohns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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