Association of maternal genital and reproductive infections with verbal memory and motor deficits in adult schizophrenia

Alan S. Brown, Sophia Vinogradov, William S. Kremen, John H. Poole, Yuanyuan Bao, David Kern, Ian W. McKeague

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20 Scopus citations


Maternal exposure to genital and reproductive infections has been associated with schizophrenia in previous studies. Impairments in several neuropsychological functions, including verbal memory, working memory, executive function, and fine-motor coordination occur prominently in patients with schizophrenia. The etiologies of these deficits, however, remain largely unknown. We aimed to assess whether prospectively documented maternal exposure to genital/reproductive (G/R) infections was related to these neuropsychological deficits in offspring with schizophrenia and other schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The cases were derived from a population-based birth cohort; all cohort members belonged to a prepaid health plan. Cases were assessed for verbal memory, working memory, executive function, and fine-motor coordination. Compared to unexposed cases, patients exposed to maternal genital/reproductive infection performed more poorly on verbal memory, fine-motor coordination, and working memory. Stratification by race revealed associations between maternal G/R infection and verbal memory and fine-motor coordination for case offspring of African-American mothers, but not for case offspring of White mothers. Significant infection-by-race interactions were also observed. Although independent replications are warranted, maternal G/R infections were associated with verbal memory and motor function deficits in African-American patients with schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-186
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 30 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This manuscript was supported by the following grants: National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) 1R01MH-60249 (A.S.B), NIMH 1K02-MH65422 (A.S.B.), a National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) Independent Investigator Award (A.S.B.) , the National Institute on Child Health and Development (NICHD) N01-HD-1-3334 (B.A. Cohn), the National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) NO1-HD-6-3258 (B.A. Cohn), the National Institute on Aging (NIA) 1R01 AG18386 (W.S.K.), 1R01 AG22381 (W.S.K.), and 1R01 AG22982 (W.S.K.), and the San Francisco Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (S.V.).

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cognition
  • Environment
  • Epidemiology
  • Exposure
  • Infection
  • Neurodevelopment
  • Risk factors

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