The Differences between Gluten Sensitivity, Intestinal Biomarkers and Immune Biomarkers in Patients with First-Episode and Chronic Schizophrenia.

Journal of clinical medicine. 2020;9(11)
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Schizophrenia is a heterogeneous neuroimmune disorder with unknown mechanisms and aetiology. The goal of this clinical study was to compare and evaluate IgG and IgA sensitivity, inflammation, and gut integrity between 52 first episode Schizophrenia patients, 50 chronic Schizophrenia patients, and 60 healthy controls to explain whether there were any associations between these markers. Study results show that antigliadin IgG and IgA antibodies, as well as inflammatory markers such as hs-CRP and IL-6, were significantly higher in the first episodes of schizophrenia and chronic schizophrenia patients when compared to the healthy controls. Schizophrenia risk was 4-7% higher among those with elevated Antigliadin IgG and IgA antibody levels. In addition, smoking cigarettes has been shown to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia. Patients with chronic schizophrenia showed elevated levels of anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibody and soluble CD14, indicating bacterial translocation and immune activation. To understand the mechanisms behind chronic Schizophrenia, which link inflammation, immune responses, and the gut-brain axis, further robust larger studies are necessary. The results of this study can be used by healthcare professionals to understand the relationship between intestinal permeability, inflammation, and food hypersensitivity.


Schizophrenia is a heterogeneous disorder without a fully elucidated etiology and mechanisms. One likely explanation for the development of schizophrenia is low-grade inflammation, possibly caused by processes in the gastrointestinal tract related to gluten sensitivity. The aims of this study were to: (1) compare levels of markers of gluten sensitivity, inflammation and gut permeability, and (2) determine associations between gluten sensitivity, inflammation, and intestinal permeability in patients with first-episode/chronic (FS/CS) schizophrenia and healthy individuals (HC). The total sample comprised 162 individuals (52 FS; 50 CS, and 60 HC). The examination included clinical variables, nutritional assessment, and serum concentrations of: high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), soluble CD14 (sCD14), anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibody (ASCA), antigliadin antibodies (AGA) IgA/IgG, antibodies against tissue transglutaminase 2 (anti-tTG) IgA, anti-deamidated gliadin peptides (anti-DGP) IgG. A significant difference between groups was found in sCD14, ASCA, hs-CRP, IL-6 and AGA IgA levels. AGA IgG/IgA levels were higher in the FS (11.54%; 30.77%) and CS (26%; 20%) groups compared to HC. The association between intestinal permeability and inflammation in the schizophrenic patients only was noted. The risk for developing schizophrenia was odds ratio (OR) = 4.35 (95% confidence interval (CI 1.23-15.39) for AGA IgA and 3.08 (95% CI 1.19-7.99) for positive AGA IgG. Inflammation and food hypersensitivity reactions initiated by increased intestinal permeability may contribute to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The immune response to gluten in FS differs from that found in CS.

Lifestyle medicine

Patient Centred Factors : Triggers/Gluten
Environmental Inputs : Diet ; Nutrients ; Microorganisms
Personal Lifestyle Factors : Nutrition
Functional Laboratory Testing : Blood
Bioactive Substances : Gluten

Methodological quality

Jadad score : Not applicable
Allocation concealment : Not applicable
Publication Type : Journal Article