Cytokines are a category of small proteins that play an important role in cell signaling. Recent studies have suggested that higher concentrations of cytokines in pregnant mothers can increase the risk of psychiatric outcomes in the offspring. This study aims to investigate the association between high cytokine concentrations during pregnancy and the effect on offspring.

This large-scale prospective cohort longitudinal study included a total of 90 eligible cases, along with 79 siblings, and 273 matched controls. The researchers assessed the incidence of psychotic disorder in adulthood by reviewing medical records. The concentrations of TNFα, IL-1β, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and IL-17a were put into the assessment. The primary outcome of the study was the onset of psychotic symptoms and their association of cytokine patterns.

The findings suggested that the concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines, including TNFα, IL-1β, and IL-6, were substantially higher in the maternal serum of offspring who had later developed psychosis when compared with the maternal serum of controls. Further analysis indicated that the differences were the most significant during the first half of pregnancy.

The research concluded that high cytokine levels in pregnant mothers were associated with an increased risk of psychosis in offspring.

Ref: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(20)30006-7/fulltext