Autoantibodies targeting the central nervous system have been shown to induce psychiatric symptoms resembling schizophrenia. Concurrently, genetic studies have characterised a number of risk variants associated with schizophrenia although their functional implications are largely unknown. Any biological effects of functional variants on protein function may potentially be replicated by the presence of autoantibodies against such proteins. Recent research has demonstrated that the R1346H variant in the CACNA1I gene coding for the Cav 3.3 protein results in a synaptic reduction of Cav3.3 voltage gated calcium channels and, consequently, sleep spindles, which have been shown to correlate with several symptom domains in patients with schizophrenia. The present study measured plasma levels of IgG against two peptides derived from CACNA1I and CACNA1C, respectively, in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls. The results demonstrated that increased anti-CACNA1I IgG levels were associated with schizophrenia but not associated with any symptom domain related to the reduction of sleep spindles. In contrast to previously published work indicating that inflammation may be a marker for a depressive phenotype, plasma levels of IgG against either CACNA1I or CACNA1C peptides were not associated with depressive symptoms, suggesting that anti-Cav3.3 autoantibodies may function independently of pro-inflammatory processes.
- Voltage gated calcium channels