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Journal of Pathogens
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 128318, 37 pages
Research Article

Schizophrenia: A Pathogenetic Autoimmune Disease Caused by Viruses and Pathogens and Dependent on Genes

Polygenic Pathways, 20 Upper Maze Hill, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN38 OLG, UK

Received 30 November 2010; Accepted 25 February 2011

Academic Editor: Man W. Tan

Copyright © 2011 C. J. Carter. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Many genes have been implicated in schizophrenia as have viral prenatal or adult infections and toxoplasmosis or Lyme disease. Several autoantigens also target key pathology-related proteins. These factors are interrelated. Susceptibility genes encode for proteins homologous to those of the pathogens while the autoantigens are homologous to pathogens' proteins, suggesting that the risk-promoting effects of genes and risk factors are conditional upon each other, and dependent upon protein matching between pathogen and susceptibility gene products. Pathogens' proteins may act as dummy ligands, decoy receptors, or via interactome interference. Many such proteins are immunogenic suggesting that antibody mediated knockdown of multiple schizophrenia gene products could contribute to the disease, explaining the immune activation in the brain and lymphocytes in schizophrenia, and the preponderance of immune-related gene variants in the schizophrenia genome. Schizophrenia may thus be a “pathogenetic” autoimmune disorder, caused by pathogens, genes, and the immune system acting together, and perhaps preventable by pathogen elimination, or curable by the removal of culpable antibodies and antigens.