Bartonella Bacteria to Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Bartonella Bacteria to Neuropsychiatric Disorders: Investigation

United States: Pathogen, especially those which are vector-borne infectious agents, might play an important in mental illness. The conclusion has been made through a recently conducted research.

Researchers discovered a notable association between the presence of Bartonella spp DNA in the bloodstream and diagnoses of schizophrenia or other psychotic conditions. In particular, it has been determined that the animals belonging to the above-mentioned category had a three times higher chance of Bartonella spp DNA detection in comparison with people having no psychiatric disorders, as published in Medscape News.

In an interview, Dr. Edward Breitschwerdt, a professor of medicine of infectious diseases at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, further stressed the existence of Bartonella, where it can cause neuro-inflammation and neuropsychiatric features. Bartonella spp refers to a group of facultative intracellular bacteria that are primarily found in arthropod vectors and animals and cause infection through bites and scratches. There are at least 45 known species within the Bartonella genus, with 18 confirmed to infect humans.

Published online in Frontiers in Psychiatry on June 7, the study questions the potential causal link between infections and mental illnesses. For instance, Bartonella henselae, commonly associated with cat scratch disease, was traditionally viewed as a self-limiting infection.

“In contrast to earlier beliefs, especially concerning cat scratch fever’s self-limiting nature, it’s now crucial to recognize that bartonelloses can induce chronic, covert bacteremia in both healthy individuals and those presenting neurological and neuropsychiatric symptoms,” noted Breitschwerdt.

To explore whether exposure or infection with Bartonella spp correlates with psychosis, researchers scrutinized blood samples from 116 individuals across various groups: 29 unaffected controls, 16 prodromal cases (exhibiting symptoms without a formal diagnosis), seven children or adolescents with psychosis, 44 adults with psychosis, and 20 relatives of psychotic individuals, as highlighted by Medscape.

There were no major differences in Bartonella-specific antibody levels between psychotic adults and unaffected controls, although Bartonella spp DNA was markedly more prevalent in the blood of adults with psychosis than in the healthy comparator group (43% vs. 14%; P =. 021).

Henselae in 11), followed by B vinsonii subsp berkhoffii (6), B quintana (2), B alsatica (1), and B rochalimae (1), using DNA sequencing methods.

This study marks the second instance where researchers have identified Bartonella in the blood of psychosis patients. In a previous 2020 study, interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bartonella spp DNA was detected in 65% of schizophrenia patients compared to only 8% of healthy controls.

“We have now demonstrated the presence of Bartonella species in the blood of two distinct groups of patients exhibiting neuropsychiatric symptoms, underscoring the importance of further investigating these bacteria as potential drivers of such symptoms,” emphasized Breitschwerdt in a press release.

He cautioned that while serological tests indicated similar Bartonella exposure rates among controls and psychosis patients, relying solely on serology could be misleading, the reports by Medscape mentioned.

A limitation of the study was the absence of Bartonella spp culturing, which precluded confirmation of viable bacterial infections. Furthermore, the study did not establish whether Bartonella bacteremia in adult psychosis patients acts as a causative factor, co-factor, or contributor to disease progression.

Until more prospective data is acquired pertaining to the relationship between Bartonella spp bacteremia and psychosis, further clinical trials are warranted investigating Bartonella-directed antimicrobial treatments in order to assess the benefits of psychotic symptoms.

Dr. Adrian Preda, a professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, commented on the findings of the study, indicating that the study affirmed the hypothesis suggested by researchers that infection causes schizophrenia, though there are still many challenges. Preda echoed the authors’ concern regarding the lack of Bartonella culturing, emphasizing its importance for future investigations.

In conclusion, this research highlights the intricate interplay between infectious agents like Bartonella spp and neuropsychiatric disorders, urging further exploration to elucidate their role in disease mechanisms and potential therapeutic implications.

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