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The role of the expression of endogenous human retroviruses in the inflammatory response associated with schizophrenia

Grant number: 22/07567-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2023
Effective date (End): December 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine
Principal Investigator:Luiz Henrique da Silva Nali
Grantee:Michelly Damasceno da Silva
Host Institution: Universidade de Santo Amaro (UNISA). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Schizophrenia is defined as a mental disorder with unknown biological etiology, with biopsychosocial aggravations, which affects people all over the world, with symptoms of psychosis throughout life, in general, patients are diagnosed around the second decade of life. Studies point to high rates of inflammatory response during the development of the clinical picture of schizophrenia, thus bringing a biological profile to the disease, however little is known about how this inflammatory response is triggered or to be modulated. It is believed that Human Endogenous Retrovirus (HERVs) may play a role in inflammatory response. HERVs are elements present in 8% of the human genome, these HERVs were exogenous viruses, which thousands of years ago contaminated germ cells of primate ancestors and passed by Mendelian inheritance during human evolution, and today is part of human DNA, since it is known that these retroviruses help in some moments of human embryogenesis, as well as in the synthesis of other molecules such as syncytin-1, in addition to being expressed in inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, among others, these diseases who have an inflammatory response where the mechanism of development is not fully understood, such as in schizophrenia. Thus, the present study aims to analyze the expression of endogenous retroviruses in schizophrenia and understand the role that these HERVs play on the inflammatory condition developed during schizophrenia. For this, a cross-sectional case-control study will be carried out, where 40 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and 40 control patients, the patients recruited for this study were previously diagnosed by psychiatrists, as for the patients in the control group, they will be recruited and matched according to age. and sex, and those who had a history of autoimmune diseases and mental disorders in the family will be excluded, both patients and healthy volunteers will undergo a blood collection for analysis of inflammatory cytokines and analysis of expression of human endogenous retroviruses by amplification of material through RT-PCR.

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