Johansson V, Nybom R, Wetterberg L, Hultman CM, Cannon TD, Johansson AG, Ekman CJ, Landén M
PLoS ONE 7 (9) e45994 [2012-09-25; online 2012-09-25]
Using scanning electron microscopy, microscopic structures have been identified in fresh cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but only rarely in control subjects. However, it has not been determined whether these microscopic particles represent state or trait markers, i.e. if their presence is related to clinical manifestations of the disease or if they also can be found in as yet asymptomatic individuals with a genetic liability. This question can be addressed by studying twins discordant or concordant for schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. We investigated microscopic structures in CSF in 102 individuals: 21 monozygotic and 16 dizygotic twins affected or not affected with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder and in 65 healthy singleton controls. A first and a second fraction of CSF was freshly applied on filters and examined by scanning electron microscopy technique. Spherical particles with lipid appearance averaging between 0.1 to 8.0 µm in diameter were detected in the center of the filter as well as located in the margins of larger aggregates binding in a viscous state. Structures were found in 12 of 17 probands, 5 of 12 healthy co-twins and 3 of 73 healthy controls. Thus, a positive microscopic finding significantly increased the likelihood of belonging to the proband group (OR=48, 95% CL: 8.2-550, p<0.0001) and the co-twin-group (OR=16, 95% CL: 2.0-218, p=0.006). Age, sex, history of alcohol abuse or anxiety syndrome, somatic disorder and markers of acute inflammatory activity did not account for group differences; nor did exposure to psychotropic medication. Presence of microscopic particles in CSF may possibly reflect trait dependent genetic or environmental vulnerability in patients with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder.