There is an impression in the literature that schizophrenia is associated with increased inflammation, including abnormal blood levels of the acute phase reactant C-reactive protein (CRP). We performed a meta-analysis of blood CRP levels to estimate the overall effect size, as well as a pooled analysis of the prevalence of an elevated CRP level in patients with schizophrenia and related disorders. We identified articles by searching PubMed, PsycInfo, and ISI, and the reference lists of identified studies. Eight studies met the inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis, and five studies were included in the pooled analysis. CRP levels were significantly increased in patients compared to controls (effect size=0.45, 95% confidence interval 0.34-0.55, p<0.001). There was a 28% prevalence of an elevated CRP level in patients with schizophrenia and related disorders. Our results support a growing body of literature that schizophrenia is associated with increased inflammation, although many studies did not control for potential confounding factors such as BMI and smoking. Given the high prevalence of elevated CRP, metabolic syndrome, and premature cardiovascular mortality, our findings also suggest that measurement of blood CRP levels may be germane to the clinical care of patients with schizophrenia and related disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health