Relationship of Interferon-γ to Cognitive Function in Midlife Women with Schizophrenia

Kathleen E. Wilson, Haley Demyanovich, Leah H. Rubin, Heidi J. Wehring, Catherine Kilday, Deanna L. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Recent literature suggests that schizophrenia is linked to an abnormal response of the immune system. Interferon-γ is a cytokine that acts as a mediator between immune stimulation and the kynurenine pathway and may be related to cognitive abilities. The objectives of the present study are to determine if serum cytokines are correlated with cognitive function differently in patients with schizophrenia compared to controls. Fourteen midlife (30–70 year-old) females with DSM-IV diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and 13 midlife control females were analyzed. Cytokines were collected from serum blood draws and analyzed at the Cytokine Core Lab at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. The RBANS, HVLT-R, and UPSA were performed to measure cognition and social performance. The results demonstrate a non-significant difference between interferon-γ levels in women with schizophrenia compared to controls, but this cytokine appears to correlate to cognitive abilities differently in these groups. There were several significant negative correlations between interferon-γ and cognition in midlife patients with schizophrenia, but only one in the midlife control group. The negative correlations between interferon-γ and cognition in patients with schizophrenia suggest the hypothesis that inflammation and the kynurenine pathway have important roles in this disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)937-946
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatric Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation
  • Schizophrenia
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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