JUL 19, 2021 10:03 AM PDT

Immune Proteins & Blood Clots May be Connected to Psychosis Development

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Researchers are pointing out the associations between blood clotting disruptions and the front line immune system, and the development of psychosis. Recent work has found that proteins that are related to the immune system and blood clotting may help predict when psychosis is developing in people. Based on that connection, scientists have proposed that imbalances in both the innate immune system and mechanisms of blood clotting can influence psychosis. A report in Molecular Psychiatry has suggested that changes in the defense mechanisms used by the immune system, which include blood clotting and inflammation, could help promote the development of the psychiatric disorder.

Image credit: Pxfuel

In the so-called 'two-hit' hypothesis, there are predisposing factors that can come from a person's genetic background or their early environment which are a first hit, increasing a person's vulnerability to subsequent physiological disruptions that stem from the environment, which act as a second hit.

"Early identification and treatment significantly improves clinical outcomes of psychotic disorders. Our theory may provide a further step to biomarkers of psychosis and allow the identification of therapeutic targets for early and more effective treatment," said co-first study author Dr. Melanie Föcking, a Lecturer in Psychiatric Neuroscience at RCSI Department of Psychiatry.

"While the idea of psychosis resulting from some form of inflammation and immune activation is not new, our data suggest a new understanding and change of focus towards a combined function of the innate immune complement system and coagulation pathways to the progression to psychotic disorder," noted co-first study author Dr. Meike Heurich, a lecturer at School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Cardiff University.

There connection between a physiological mechanism called the complement and coagulation cascade and psychosis is briefly outlined in the video. Previous research has shown that proteins involved in that cascade can be a useful biomarker for psychosis.

Sources: AAAS/Eurekalert! via RCSI, JAMA Psychiatry, Molecular Psychiatry

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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