PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The vascular hypothesis of schizophrenia (SZ) postulates that brain endothelial dysfunction contributes to brain pathophysiology. This review discusses recent evidence for and against this hypothesis, including data related to blood-brain barrier (BBB), brain endothelium, and brain blood supply, to provide a critical weighed update.
RECENT FINDINGS: Different studies report a consistent proportion of SZ patients showing increased BBB permeability, reflected by higher levels of albumin in the cerebral spinal fluid. Of note, this was not a result of antipsychotic medication. The high inflammatory profile observed in some SZ patients is strongly associated with increased BBB permeability to circulating immune cells, and with more severe cognitive deficiencies. Also, sex was found to interact with BBB integrity and permeability in SZ. The strongest independent genetic association with SZ has been identified in FZD1, a hypoxia-response gene that is 600-fold higher expressed in early development endothelium as compared to adult brain endothelium. Regarding brain blood supply, there is evidence to suggest alterations in proper brain perfusion in SZ. Nonetheless, ex-vivo experiments suggested that widely used antipsychotics favor vasoconstriction; thus, alterations in cerebral perfusion might be related to the patients' medication.
SUMMARY: In some patients with SZ, a vulnerable brain endothelium may be interacting with environmental stressors, such as inflammation or hypoxia, converging into a more severe SZ symptomatology. Gene expression and performance of human brain endothelium could vary along with development and the establishment of the BBB; therefore, we encourage to investigate its possible contribution to SZ considering this dynamic context.
|Tijdschrift||Current opinion in psychiatry|
|Nummer van het tijdschrift||3|
|Status||Published - mei-2022|