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Psychiatry Investigation 2007;4(2):61-5.
Viral Infections as Etiological Factors of Schizophrenia
Jung Jin Kim, MD, PhD
Department of Psychiatry, The Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Kangnam St. Mary's Hospital, Seoul, Korea
Abstract
<p class="MsoPlainText" style="word-spacing: 1; line-height: 150%; margin-top: 0; margin-bottom: 0" align="left"><font face="HY중고딕" size="2">Schizophrenia is a major psychiatric disorder with different clinical subtypes. However, the etiological factors and pathogenetic mechanisms involved in the development of schizophrenia remain obscure. The discrepancies among the findings of previous genetic studies of schizophrenia that have taken place over several decades may have resulted from the failure of these studies to account for environmental risk factors. Epidemiological studies have indicated viral infection as one of the environmental risk factors of schizophrenia. Prenatal and perinatal infections may affect the immune reaction or neuronal development and result in schizophrenia in genetically susceptible individuals. Viral infections during development may be a source of the differences in the subgroups of patients with schizophrenia. Several putative viral infectious agents have been suggested as potential risk factors for schizophrenia. Although there are some constraints on the investigation of infectious agents in patients with schizophrenia, viral infection as an etiologic factor involved in the development of schizophrenia should be a primary focus of future studies.


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Key words   Schizophrenia;Etiology;Pathogenesis;Virus;Infection.
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