CNS Drugs

, Volume 20, Issue 11, pp 879–885 | Cite as

Cytomegalovirus and Schizophrenia

  • E. Fuller Torrey
  • Markus F. Leweke
  • Markus J. Schwarz
  • Norbert Mueller
  • Silke Bachmann
  • Johannes Schroeder
  • Faith Dickerson
  • Robert H. Yolken
Current Opinion


Several lines of evidence suggest that cytomegalovirus (CMV) may play an aetiological role in schizophrenia. Epidemiologically, both have a worldwide distribution and an increased prevalence in lower socioeconomic groups. Studies have reported that some patients experiencing initial episodes of schizophrenia have increased levels of IgG antibodies against CMV, but not other herpes viruses, in their sera and CSF. Treatment with antipsychotic medications may result in a decrease in CMV antibodies, while treatment with anti-herpes virus and anti-inflammatory medications may reduce symptoms in some individuals with schizophrenia. There is also some overlap in the genes that are thought to operate in CMV infections and schizophrenia.

The strongest argument against the role of CMV in schizophrenia is the absence of the traditional CMV neuropathological changes in the brains of individuals with schizophrenia; however, neuropathological studies of CMV have mostly been conducted in immune-compromised individuals.

Further studies on CMV and schizophrenia are needed and may lead to improved treatments for schizophrenia.


Schizophrenia Celecoxib Varicella Zoster Virus Herpes Virus Chronic Schizophrenia 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Financial support for this study was provided by the Stanley Medical Research Institute. None of the authors have any conflicts of interest that are relevant to the contents of this review.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Fuller Torrey
    • 1
  • Markus F. Leweke
    • 2
  • Markus J. Schwarz
    • 3
  • Norbert Mueller
    • 3
  • Silke Bachmann
    • 4
  • Johannes Schroeder
    • 5
  • Faith Dickerson
    • 6
  • Robert H. Yolken
    • 7
  1. 1.The Stanley Medical Research Institute and Uniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  3. 3.Laboratory of NeurochemistryPsychiatric Hospital, University of MunichMunichGermany
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity of HalleHalleGermany
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  6. 6.Sheppard Pratt Health SystemsBaltimoreUSA
  7. 7.Stanley Laboratory of Developmental NeurovirologyJohns Hopkins University Medical CenterBaltimoreUSA

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