There is now evidence that schizophrenia and especially deficit schizophrenia (DefSCZ) (a phenotype characterized by negative symptoms) is accompanied by activated immune-inflammatory pathways. A subset of patients with schizophrenia and DefSCZ experience physiosomatic symptoms reminiscent of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. However, there are no data whether, in DefSCZ, physiosomatic symptoms are associated with increased levels of cytokines/chemokines. This study examined the associations between physiosomatic symptoms, as assessed with the FibroFatigue (FF) scale, and symptoms of DefSCZ as well as interleukin IL-1β, IL-1 receptor antagonist (sIL-1RA), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and CCL11 (eotaxin) in 120 DefSCZ patients (as defined by the Schedule for Deficit Schizophrenia) and 54 healthy controls. In DefSCZ, there were robust associations between FF and negative symptoms, psychosis, hostility, excitation, mannerism, psychomotor retardation and formal thought disorders. A latent vector extracted from those DefSCZ symptom domains also loaded highly on the total FF score and showed adequate convergent validity, internal consistency reliability and predictive relevance. The FF score was significantly associated with impairments in semantic and episodic memory and executive functions. Soft Independent Modelling of Class Analogy showed that the FF items discriminated DefSCZ from controls with an 100% accuracy. Interleukin IL-1β, IL-1RA, TNF-α and CCL11 explained 59.4% of the variance in the LV extracted from the FF and DefSCZ symptoms. In conclusion, these data show that physiosomatic symptoms are a core component of DefSCZ phenomenology and are strongly associated with activated immune pathways, which have neurotoxic effects.
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