Håkan Karlsson, Ph.D.
A poor understanding of the interacting risk factors for schizophrenia and other major psychiatric diseases prohibits advances in their prevention and treatment. By an interdisciplinary approach, our laboratory seeks to improve our understanding of how different environmental factors contribute to the development of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Clinical studies from our laboratory support the notion that inflammatory mechanisms relating to innate immune function and activation of endogenous retroviral elements (HERV) are associated with the onset of schizophrenia. A key question is when such mechanisms are initiated.
Experimental studies from our laboratory illustrate how early-life infections and genetic variants resulting in functional deficits in the adaptive immune response interact to promote inflammatory conditions that can contribute to the development of behavioral deficits relating to cognitive and emotional domains.
Using the unique Swedish biobanks and registers we have more recently demonstrated risk factors for serious psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and autism that appear to act during early life. Such factors include maternal antibodies to both infectious and dietary antigens as well as altered levels of acute phase proteins in the neonatal blood. Register-based studies indicate that exposure to serious CNS infections during childhood also contributes to the development of non-affective psychoses later in life.
- Fang Li, PhD student
- Renee Gardner, postdoc
Neonatal levels of acute phase proteins and later risk of non-affective psychosis.
Transl. Psych. 3:e228
Maternal antibodies to dietary antigens and risk for non- affective psychoses in the offspring.
Am. J. Psychiatry (2012) 129:625-32
Maternal antibodies to infectious agents and risk for non-affective psychosis in the offspring: a matched case-control study.
Schizophrenia Res. (2012) 140:25-30
Neonatal infection with neurotropic influenza A virus affects working memory and expression of type III Nrg1 in adult mice.
Brain Behav. Immun. (2009) 23:733-41
Infections in CNS during childhood and the risk of subsequent psychotic illness. A cohort study of more than one million Swedish subjects.
American Journal of Psychiatry. (2008) 165: 59-65