[Do obstetric complications increase the risk of schizophrenia?].Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen 2010; 130(3):270-2TN
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disease of unknown aetiology. Genetic liability is the most important risk factor. Several studies have demonstrated that pre and perinatal complications/traumas are associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia in adult age. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of research on obstetric complications as risk factors for schizophrenia.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The article is based on literature identified through non-systematic searches in the databases PubMed and Embase.
The putative association between obstetric complications and schizophrenia has been investigated for almost 80 years. Numerous controlled studies have found that maternal infection (influenza, rubella, toxoplasmosis), prenatal malnutrition and birth-associated complications (such as low birth weight and asphyxia) are associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia. Experiments in animal models suggest that foetal hypoxia and maternal inflammatory responses may affect neuronal development. However, underlying pathophysiological mechanisms and modes of interaction with schizophrenia susceptibility genes are unknown.
An association between obstetric complications and an increased risk of schizophrenia is strongly supported by scientific evidence.