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An immunological marker (D8/17) associated with rheumatic fever as a predictor of childhood psychiatric disorders in a community sample

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Background:

Previous studies have documented that various behavioral disturbances accompany Sydenham's chorea, a neurologic variant of rheumatic fever. Further, an immunological marker associated with rheumatic fever (monoclonal antibody D8/17) has been reported to be elevated in several neuropsychiatric disorders, most frequently tics and obsessive-compulsive disorder. We examined this association in a community sample of children previously identified as being D8/17 positive or negative. It was hypothesized that D8/17 positivity would predict increased rates of tics and obsessive-compulsive disorder, even in the absence of Sydenham's chorea. Possible associations with other disorders accompanying Sydenham's chorea – hyperactivity, anxiety, and depression, also were explored. Method:

From 1991 to 1995, 2631 children (mean age =  9.6 ± 1.6 years) from a low socioeconomic area of Mexico City were screened for the D8/17 marker. In a 2- to 5-year follow-up of 240 of these children (108 positive and 132 negative), structured psychiatric interviews and rating scales were administered to the child and main caretaker. Assessments were conducted and scored blind to the child's D8/17 status. Results:

No association was seen between D8/17 positivity and tics or OCD. Conclusion:

This study failed to provide support for the generalized use of D8/17 as a marker of susceptibility to tics and OCD in a community sample.
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Keywords: Autoimmunity; depression; monoclonal antibody D8/17; obsessive-compulsive disorder; streptococcal infection; tics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, DHHS, Bethesda, USA; 2: Hospital Infantil De Mexico Federico Gomez, Mexico City, Mexico

Publication date: July 1, 2003

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