Autoantibodies against acetylcholine receptors are increased in archived serum samples from patients with schizophrenia

Ryan thomas Mclean, Elizabeth Buist, David St. clair, Jun Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies have demonstrated that the levels of IgG against neurotransmitter receptors are increased in patients with schizophrenia. Genome-wide association (GWA) studies of schizophrenia confirmed that 108 loci harbouring over 300 genes were associated with schizophrenia. Although the functional implications of genetic variants are unclear, theoretical functional alterations of these genes could be replicated by the presence of autoantibodies. This study examined the levels of plasma IgG antibodies against four neurotransmitter receptors, CHRM4, GRM3, CHRNA4 and CHRNA5, using an in-house ELISA in 247 patients with schizophrenia and 344 non-psychiatric controls. Four peptides were designed based on in silico analysis with computational prediction of HLA-DRB1 restricted and B-cell epitopes. The relationship between plasma IgG levels and psychiatric symptoms, as defined by the Operational Criteria Checklist for Psychotic Illness and Affective Illness (OPCRIT), were examined. The results showed that the levels of plasma IgG against peptides derived from CHRM4 and CHRNA4 were significantly increased in patients with schizophrenia compared with control subjects, but there was no significant association of plasma IgG levels with any symptom domain or any specific symptoms. These preliminary results suggest that CHRM4 and CHRNA4 may be novel targets for autoantibody responses in schizophrenia, although the pathogenic relationship between increased serum autoantibody levels and schizophrenia symptoms remains unclear.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-13
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2024


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