Transl Psychiatry 11 (1) 474 [2021-09-13; online 2021-09-13]
Autoimmune processes are suspected to play a role in the pathophysiology of psychotic disorders. Better understanding of the associations between auto-immunoglobulin G (IgG) repertoires and clinical features of mental illness could yield novel models of the pathophysiology of psychosis, and markers for biological patient stratification. We undertook cross-sectional detection and quantification of auto-IgGs in peripheral blood plasma of 461 people (39% females) with established psychotic disorder diagnoses. Broad screening of 24 individuals was carried out on group level in eight clinically defined groups using planar protein microarrays containing 42,100 human antigens representing 18,914 proteins. Autoantibodies indicated by broad screening and in the previous literature were measured using a 380-plex bead-based array for autoantibody profiling of all 461 individuals. Associations between autoantibody profiles and dichotomized clinical characteristics were assessed using a stepwise selection procedure. Broad screening and follow-up targeted analyses revealed highly individual autoantibody profiles. Females, and people with family histories of obesity or of psychiatric disorders other than schizophrenia had the highest overall autoantibody counts. People who had experienced subjective thought disorder and/or were treated with clozapine (trend) had the lowest overall counts. Furthermore, six autoantibodies were associated with specific psychopathology symptoms: anti-AP3B2 (persecutory delusions), anti-TDO2 (hallucinations), anti-CRYGN (initial insomnia); anti-APMAP (poor appetite), anti-OLFM1 (above-median cognitive function), and anti-WHAMMP3 (anhedonia and dysphoria). Future studies should clarify whether there are causal biological relationships, and whether autoantibodies could be used as clinical markers to inform diagnostic patient stratification and choice of treatment.